Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 24 Number 8 August 2022
Page 11

The Potter and the Clay

Byron Nichols

Byron NicholsLike a lot of other folks, I get a good bit of enjoyment from sports, but it is my uninspired opinion that God is really not into sports any more than He cares about crossword puzzles and checkers. However, there are some indications in the Bible that God does have some interest in, of all things, the making of pottery. I invite you to join me in investigating further God’s interest in pottery.

Let’s begin by reading Jeremiah 18:1-4.

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.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 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.

The Lord wants His people to understand this thoroughly, as is clear from verses 5-6. “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!’” The Lord’s message to Israel was that He is the Potter and they were the clay. He is the Lord and Master, and they were but clay in His hands, to be used in whatever manner or form He chooses.

Who are we? Are we not God’s spiritual Israel today? We are, and as such, we are to trust ourselves in the hands of our Potter. Also, regarding God’s interest in pottery, let’s consider Isaiah 29:15-16.

Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD, and their works are in the dark; They say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?” Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; For shall the thing made say of him who made it, “He did not make me”? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?

Please realize that God has no disregard for clay and its importance. His concern is that His people comprehend that He is the Potter and His people are the clay, subject to Him and the design that He may very well have for them.

God is indeed a loving God, but He is not about to relinquish His role as our Maker and our Master to us, His creation. The New Testament version of Isaiah 29:15-16 is found in Romans 9:20-21, which reads, “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?”

As in many other matters, Jesus gave us a perfect illustration of a lesson. “And He said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will’” (Mark 14:36). Jesus understood that He was on earth to do His Father’s will and not His own, even when He didn’t prefer His Father’s over His own.

The apostle Paul was thoroughly converted to Christ, to the point that he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). He was quick in learning that he was only clay in the hands of the Potter. He said it in a different way in Ephesians 2:10. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Spiritual self-denial is not natural, but it can be learned and practiced until it even becomes desired by those who have grown spiritually. May we all be among that number who can conscientiously sing these words by Adelaide A. Pollard.

“Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the Potter, I am the clay!
Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see Christ only, always, living in me.”

Perhaps a fitting conclusion to our study is found in Isaiah 64:8. “But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.”


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