In Jeremiah 18, God tells Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house, and He would announce His words to Jeremiah. I wonder what Jeremiah was thinking as he went to the potter’s place. What was God going to show him? He would know that this potter was very talented. He knew that potter would have some beautiful vases for display. What beauty would he see?
But when Jeremiah got there what he saw was a ruined vessel on the wheel. That probably didn’t make that potter’s day.
Have you ever seen clay on a potter’s wheel? At first it is a lump, then the potter adds water to the lump (what a mess) and begins to work with it. (put in a video clip of a clay pot being made) He skillfully forms it into a beautiful vase or pot. But if it is spoiled, the potter smashes it back into a lump and the beauty is gone. It is one, wet, lump of clay again.
God uses this illustration to tell Jeremiah that He will deal with the house of Israel as the potter does. This was what the LORD was going to do with the house of Israel (Judah). He was going to “fashion calamity” against them and “make their land a desolation.”
Hmmm. Does that sound like what’s going on in our world today?
Why? Because they had forgotten Him. They followed their own plans and acted “according to the stubbornness of [their] evil heart [s]” The clay was spoiled.
And we as a people have forgotten the Lord. We have not given Him the honor that is due to the One who is our creator.
Notice though what the potter did when Jeremiah was watching. He started again. He made another vessel, “as it pleased the potter to make.” He took that old spoiled vase and reformed it into the pottery that he wanted it to be—ready to be fired, painted, glazed, and re-fired again to be ready for use.
God could have just left the illustration to be that Judah was ruined like a spoiled clay vessel. But God always goes beyond the ruin, and gives hope for the beautiful. The potter made the spoiled, wet, clumpy clay into a new and beautiful vessel.
That’s what God wanted to do in the lives of the people of Judah. He saw what He was going to make them to be—a nation after God’s own heart. He planned to “give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them.” He planned to take their “heart of stone” and change it into a “heart of flesh” that is soft and pliable and willing to love and obey our Lord.
That’s what God wants to do in our lives today. He wants to change our stony, stubborn hearts into soft pliable hearts that are willing to follow His ways. It is not an easy path, but God’s way is always the best way.
Is that what you want for your life? Do you want to be changed into a beautiful vessel that God can use for His plans and purposes?
Are you willing for God to take the “spoiled” part of our lives and form it into something of beauty?
If so, then I hope you will join me on this adventure as we study Jeremiah and his willingness to be changed and used by God.