Text: Jeremiah 18:1-10
The prophet Jeremiah’s visit to the potter’s house was more than to observe how clay can be fashioned into a beautiful vessel. God was, through a dramatic parable, revealing something of His total authority, not only in the affairs of Israel, but also of all His people in every generation.
God, as the Potter, has the absolute right to mould us as He sees fit. God is working in us for His glory and service. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6) … “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Since God has a purpose for our lives, He knows exactly what He wants us to be. Therefore, as long as we are submissive to His will, He will transform our character until we become more like Christ.
God does not force us against our will, for He did not create robots but free moral agents who can choose to obey or reject His word. Without commitment to God’s revealed will we will not please Him, but instead frustrate the plans He has for us. “If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them” (Jeremiah 18:10). It is faithful commitment that pleases God. “But without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Reject or repent
If the potter is unhappy with the finished product he has every right to remould the clay. If God’s people rebel against Him, then He can change His plans regarding the blessing and goodness He has promised. “Thus are our times in God’s hand, and not in our own, and it is in vain for us to strive with him” (Matthew Henry). He has two choices here:
1. He can completely destroy the vessel and choose not to make use of the clay ever again. “Then shalt thou break the bottle in the sight of the men that go with thee, And shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter’s vessel, that cannot be made whole again: and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be no place to bury” (Jeremiah 19:10-11) … “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” (Romans 9:22).
2. If we come to an end of our stubborn resistance and repent, then God will transform us into a vessel of honour fit for His purpose. “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work” (2 Timothy 2:20-21) … “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23).
These two choices are determined by our submission or lack of it. All it takes is true repentance to see what God can do with us. John Wesley writes, “God hath an absolute sovereign power to do what he pleases with the work of his hands: but he acts as a just judge, rendering to every man according to his works.”
The Divine Potter’s will, is not for the destruction of the clay, but that it would stop resisting Him and be fashioned according to His will. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).