Life as Potters Clay

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When you think about your life, what would you compare it to?
A Marvel superhero? A lion? Something special?
Or do you see humility? Servitude? Being taken advantage of?
How about a lump of clay?
Jeremiah 18:1–2 NKJV
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.”
Yahweh has been speaking to His people through Jeremiah for a while now,
And it hasn’t been good news.
A lot of swords, famine, and pestilence.
Ruin, destruction, and captivity.
Now God has a message for Jeremiah to deliver,
And it starts at a potter’s house.
Jeremiah 18:3 NKJV
Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel.
God sends Jeremiah to visit a potter, and the potter was making something.
So far, not exactly a surprise.
Jeremiah 18:4 NKJV
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.
When I was a child, my grandmother had a pottery studio in the old garage.
Granted, she did slip-casting, not a spinning wheel,
But the concept was the same.
If the piece she cast didn’t come our right, she would tear it up and put it back in the slip.
(Slip is basically clay watered down into a pourable liquid.)
Then, after drying the mold, she would cast the piece again.
Or maybe, she would cast something else.
As the potter, she created what she thought was good.
Similarly, when a potter messes up a piece, they simply recycle the clay.
Sometimes they make the same piece, other times they’ll make something new.
It truly is up to the potter.
But then Yahweh talked to Jeremiah again.
Jeremiah 18:5–6 NKJV
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!
Have you ever considered yourself as a lump of clay in the potter’s hands?
I know, that phrase is frequently used in churches and church settings, but have you ever really considered what that means?
Genesis 2:7 NKJV
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
We are all made of dust.
That’s easy to say, but much harder to live.
Because this also means that we are formed, molded, and shaped by God’s hands.
What does it mean to be clay in the Master’s hands?
Have you ever had a good massage?
I’m not talking about a nice shoulder rub from a spouse or loved one,
I’m talking a professional massage.
Where someone with hands that can crack walnuts goes to town on your muscles.
Or some guy who looks like he could bench press a small SUV starts working his elbow into your shoulder while you scream in pain.
A good massage hurts.
So imagine what it must feel like to not merely be massaged, but MOLDED!
Pinched, squeezed, pushed, and pulled into shape.
Sounds pretty painful to me.
With that in mind, maybe those things we think are punishment or unjust, are actually the potter working his clay into shape.
Consider Naomi.
She ends up in Moab, only to have her husband and both sons die.
She decides to return to Israel, including one of her daughter’s in law.
Destitute and dependent on others just to eat, I’m sure felt like the marred pottery.
Until the potter made something else out of her.
Ruth 4:16–17 NKJV
Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her bosom, and became a nurse to him. Also the neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi.” And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Could Naomi have been the great, great, grandmother of king David if she had not been molded into shape by the Master’s hands?
Or what about Job?
Job 1:8 NKJV
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
I’ve often wondered why God pointed Job out to Satan.
Sure, God can do whatever He wants.
He has control over all things.
I even considered that God was keeping Job humble.
Now I consider this,
Would Job have gotten to where he was at the end without God’s molding him?
Job 42:1–6 NKJV
Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”
“I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.”
God had molded Job into this new man.
What about king David?
Would he be the man after God’s own heart without being molded by Saul’s envy?
Or Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
What would they had been they hadn’t been through Babylon and become Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego?
Or Peter,
What would his ministry be like if he hadn’t denied Jesus, then been restored?
Consider Hebrew 11, the Hall of Faith.
All of them had been molded by God, suffering to be turned into what He wanted.
Well, all except maybe Enoch, we don’t know how he was molded?


Now, look at your life.
Look at the painful and difficult times you’ve been through.
How was God molding you into something different.
Getting laid off is no fun, but it has changed my life.
In fact, the first time I was laid off, it was the best career move that I can think of.
Consider the original sin.
Genesis 3:6 NKJV
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Ever since, mankind has tried to be in charge, the one molding the clay.
But we’re not the potter, we ARE the clay.
When you’re the clay, it’s easy to look at things from the clay’s point of view.
It takes wisdom to step back and consider the potter’s viewpoint.
As much as we want things to be better, we very much want things to stay the same.
The same job, the same home, even the same way of life.
We’re nostalgic for the way things used to be,
Usually because we forget the difficulties of those times.
We even have a term for this, Luddite.
Someone who would destroy improvements to keep the jobs they had.
But if claim remains the same, it is nothing but a lump.
Only through molding can that lump become a vase, a pitcher, or a sculpture.
How many of us strive to remain the same?
To remain that lump of clay?
Unwilling to let the master turn us into something better.
The same original sin, the desire to like God,
Knowing, even defining, good and evil, is the same one that keeps us as useless lumps of clay.
Just as a painful massage may bring relief at the end,
A painful message can relieve the burdens of sin.
If you to be of use to the Master, you must suffer the pain of being molded into the shape He desires.
It will not be pleasant, and you may wonder why it is happening,
But only after you have become what seems good to God, will you understand the molding process.
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