The Potter and the Clay
“O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.”
Throughout my life as a Christian, I’ve heard people speak of God as the potter and us as the clay. Almost always, the point of this analogy is God’s forming us to be what he wills for our lives.
To be sure, that’s a fine use of the potter-clay image. But it’s not the main point of Jeremiah 18:6. Here the emphasis is upon God’s sovereignty, his rightful authority to do as he wishes with his people. Even as the potter, when he is displeased with the jar he creates, has the right to crush it and start over again, so the Lord has the prerogative to destroy Israel, or to bless it if the nation obeys his word (18:6-10).
Today we’re reminded of the fact that since God has made us, he has authority over our lives. We exist to fulfill his will for us. When we fall short of his intentions, our Lord has every right to crush us and start over. But, thanks to his mercy, God chooses not to give up on us (even as, ultimately, he did not give up on Israel). Sometimes God’s work in our lives can feel like being crushed. But he is exercising his sovereignty over us so that we might become what he intends for us. In this way, we will find our rightful purpose in life, glorifying God even as we experience the fullness of life in this world. As it says in Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” God, our potter, is shaping us to be a masterpiece!
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How have you experienced God’s sovereignty over your life? In what ways is God shaping you these days? What difference might it make in your life if you were more conscious of God’s authority over you?
PRAYER: Gracious God, I know that you are my potter. You made me. You redeemed me. You re-created me in Christ to be your masterpiece.
How I thank you, dear Lord, for not giving up on me when I’m less than you intend. Thank you for your patience and mercy. Thank you for continuing to shape me even when I resist you and your work.
Help me to live each moment of each day for you and your purposes. May I acknowledge you as my potter, not only through my words, but also through my works. By your Spirit, help me to do the good things you have planned for me so long ago.
All praise be to you, O God, Sovereign Lord, my potter. Amen.