I invite you to take a walk with me. The streets are narrow and wind around the building; they are also filled with camels with their burdens, donkeys whose backs are laden with everything from firewood to cooking utensils, and children running and playing, as carefree as the wind that is blowing. We make our way to the gate of the city that overlooks a valley. By looking closer, I see men, sitting on stools pedaling with their feet as the potter forms and fashions an urn. Beside each man, there is a pile of special clay that they have carried from nearby hills. Also, beside each stool, there is a pile of broken vessels of clay that the potter has thrown away. Perhaps there was a flaw in the clay, or perhaps the vessel was misshapen, so there they lay, useless.

God speaks to the prophet Jeremiah and tells him to go to the potters’ workplace. “Arise and go down to the potter’s house and there I shall announce to you My Words”. God has something He wants to show the prophet. “So, I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on his wheel. But the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter, so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter.”

The potter is mentioned by four Biblical writers. They are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zachariah, and Paul. This means that there must be something that God wants to say to us about the potter. Listen to the words of Paul: ‘Who in the world do you think you are to second guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any one of us knows enough to call God into question?  Clay does not talk back to the fingers that molded it, “saying, why did you shape me like this?” Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show His angry displeasure and make another style to carefully show His glorious goodness isn’t that all right? [Rom. 9:14 Message]

As Jeremiah looked as the potter plied his trade, he observed several things. He saw the potter, the wheel, and the clay. This gives us an idea of why God has taken the prophet to the potter.

The potter speaks of God’s authority. The potter has the right to determine what he wants to make and how it looks. God wanted the prophet to observe that He, God has absolute power. The potter’s sensitive hands, move across the clay, gradually shaping it. The clay speaks of myself. I am in the hands of God to be shaped by Him. Paul, in Ephesians, says that we are the product of God’s workmanship. There is never an attempt to put a rock on his wheel in an attempt to mold it. It is clay that he works with.

So, I see God and myself in all the circumstances of life being molded into the vessel He seeks to make. In considering this, I must know who it is that has His hand on my life. He is not some austere, cold indifferent being, selfish and controlling. It is God, who has my best in mind as He shapes me. The clay must be convinced of the character of God before becoming clay in his hands.

But you say, there is a problem with the illustration. The clay has no “will”  and I have a “will”. I know what I want to do and where I want to go.

There are two things we must deal with here. The first is the sovereignty of God. Have you ever taken the time to deal with this? This is what Paul was referring to in Romans 9 which was referred to earlier. He asks; “…does not the potter [God] have a right over the clay?” [me] This is an issue I have had to deal with in a very intense way. I remember so clearly when at 19 years of age, the potter [God} shared with me His plans for my life. I am not ashamed to say that I struggled very intensely with that. After all, I had MY plans for my life, and here comes the potter and informs that His plans and my plans need adjustment. This was the first time I struggled with the sovereignty of God over my life. He has shared His will and I shared with Him my will and there was quite a distance between the two “wills”. This struggle took time as I came to grips with God’s sovereignty. The potter and the clay.

Over the years I have found that God’s will for my life always trumps my will. I have found the potter seeks to mold my life in a much better design than I could have ever done by myself.

Some people are fearful of God. I find the best description of who God is, is a definition given to Moses by God Himself. “I am the LORD, The LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness, and truth; who keeps loving-kindness for thousands and forgives iniquity and transgression and sin…”.

That is the potter. He wants to shape me after Himself. How can I tell Him that I have a better plan and that I would like to shape myself into my own image? Too often we have viewed God as a selfish taskmaster, who like a slave master whips me into submission. He is to be feared.

There was a struggle between the prophet and the potter. It is recorded in the first chapter of the prophets’ books. The potter comes to Jeremiah and says, “Now the Word of the Lord came to me saying “before you were born I consecrated you, and I have appointed you to be a prophet…then I said, “alas oh Lord, I do not know how to speak because I am too young”. So, the prophet resists getting on the wheel of the potter. That is his will. The potter replies, “everywhere I send you, you shall go and all that I commanded you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid, for I am with you to deliver you”.

I must be able to discern between the will of the potter and the decadent human will. If I resist the potter and choose my own will over His, it will lead to eventual destruction. If I dare to trust the potter and follow His plan, it will lead to eternal life with Him. My ultimate fulfillment is to allow the hands of the potter to shape my life.

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