Jeremiah 18:1-12

There is a classic old poem which has also been made into a song, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand.” In it, what was thought to be a worthless old violin is placed up for auction. There are no takers for the battered and scarred old violin until an old master steps up and begins to play it. The violin then draws a high price because of the beautiful music produced by the master. The value wasn’t in the violin as much as in what the master could do with it.

There is nothing more worthless than a handful of dirt, yet God used the dust of the earth to make mankind, which is “a little lower than the angels and crowned…with glory and honor.”

From dust, God is able to take a human being and make of him or her whatever pleases Him. That lesson was driven home to the prophet Jeremiah in a powerful way when he felt led to make a visit to the potter’s house.

God Shapes People as a Potter Shapes Clay
When Jeremiah went to the potter’s house, a lump of clay was being spun on the wheel and shaped by the potter’s hand. The potter was not making a work of art as we may think of it today. Instead, he was making a vessel to serve a purpose in someone’s home. As the potter spun the clay in ways only he could know, he sensed some weakness or flaw that would hinder the pot’s usefulness. He took the clay, mashed it together and started again until in his all-knowing hands, the clay was serving the purpose he intended.

Being remolded and reshaped is not necessarily a pleasant experience, but it is necessary if the clay is to be used in the way the potter intended. The hymn says, “Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.”

God Shapes Clay for His Purposes
As Jeremiah pondered what he was witnessing as the potter worked with the clay, he gained prophetic insight into God’s work with people and nations. There is a critical difference, however, between human beings and lumps of clay. We have the option of choosing how we will respond to the work of the Potter in our lives. The Lord said through His prophet: “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in My hand, Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. If at another time I announce a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.”

Unlike clay, we have the option of refusing to cooperate with the One who wants to shape our lives for His purpose. If we turn away from God’s will, we will miss His best for us.

God Gives Us the Option to Participate
In verse 12, the people say, “It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.” They mistakenly believe that what has been decided has been decided and is final. Prophets give their message with a caveat, I believe: “If you repent and turn to Me, this doesn’t necessarily have to happen.” We are still clay in God’s hands, but choosing the option to repent and turn to Him with our whole hearts can fill us with the joy of being a vessel totally useful to Him.

Mold me and shape me, after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Share This On: