Letís visit the Potterís House
"The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel."††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††† †††-- Jeremiah 18:1-6
God sent his prophet to the potter's house so that, by observation and inspiration, he might receive God's message to deliver to God's people. The potter had a lump of moist clay on his wheel which he shaped, quickly and with great ease, according to his own will. But something was found in the clay, a stiffness, a pebble, or some displeasing quality. "And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.Ē If the clay is not used for one purpose, it will be used for another. If it is not to be molded into a vessel of honor, it will be molded into a vessel of dishonor, according to the will of the potter.
The clay here represents the house of Israel. Israel had been dug from Egypt like clay from the pit. God brought them up into the land of Canaan, where he gently shaped and molded them. But they were stiff and unyielding. A heart of stone was in them. Therefore that nation was marred in the hands of God. And he turned his grace toward the nations of the world. Paul enlarges this message and tells us that the clay represents all men (Rom. 9:18-24). Clay is raw material, infertile mud, useless, except in the hands of the potter. That is what you and I are, useless clods of red earth, sons and daughters of Adam. God dug us from the pit of fallen humanity by the hand of his omnipotent grace. He fashioned us into the image of his own dear Son and filled us with his mercy. Godís elect, sinners chosen to eternal life, are vessels of mercy, made and prepared by God to be filled with mercy.
The wheels Jeremiah saw are the purposes, promises, providence, and power of God. All the circumstances, experiences, and events of our lives in this world are wheels used by God to mold and shape his people into the image of Christ, according to his will (Rom. 8:28-29; 11:36). And the wheels of providence and grace move according to God's eternal purpose of grace in predestination.
The Potter is the Lord God himself. You and I are as clay in the hands of God. He owns us. He has (and always exercises) the right to rule us, use us, shape us, and dispose of us as he will. He says, "Cannot I do with you as this potter? Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand." God is not in our hands. We are in his hands. God is not ruled by our will. We are ruled by his will.