"But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands, so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. ...can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the Lord. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel." Jeremiah 18:4,6
pots always start with a chunk of shapeless clay. The first step in
making pots is to prepare the clay. It is kneaded back and forth, back
and forth, with the heel of the hands of the potter, until it forms a
smooth ball. Next it is pulled, stretched, pressed, smoothed, and rolled
into the shape of the pot that the potter desires.
admit that I am a marred piece of clay. My Heavenly Father is the
Potter. Just like that clay in the hand of the potter, so am I in the
If we want to be honest, I think we would
admit that we spend a whole lot of time in the kneading hands of the
Potter. There seem to be particular seasons in life where the pressure
of His shaping hands is felt more than the hand of His blessing. It is
so important to God that we become even, pleasing, well-formed, and
purposeful, that His infinite love will allow us to be very
We are kneaded and stretched in many
different ways. A difficult work situation. A fight with a spouse. A
disobedient child. An aging parent. People talking about us. Feeling
offended. Thinking life isn't fair. We may have more month left at the
end of the money. But God tells us that He is shaping us as it seems
best to Him.
Human clay is not passive, as is the clay
of the earthly potter. When we are being kneaded and stretched, we can
respond. Therein lies our choice. While God is sovereign in His work, He
is responsive to our wills. We can choose to live by our emotions and
feelings, giving way to anger, bitterness and resentment. Or, we can
choose to respond in love. We can choose to return evil for evil or
overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21) We can choose to renew our mind
with the Word of God and obey it, or we can choose to conform to the
patterns of the world. (Romans 12:2) We can choose fear or faith.
believe the more right choices that we make, the less time we will
spend on the potter's wheel. The children of Israel turned an eleven day
journey into a 40 year trip, around the same mountain over and over and
over again with their grumbling, complaining and disobedience.
you pliable in the Potter's hands, or are you hard and cracked? Are you
concentrating more on the pressure of His hands, or on the loving touch
of them? If a piece of clay is pliable, it is much easier and faster
for the potter to mold it into shape. If it is hard and cracked the
Potter won't stop -- He will just continue to knead and press until it
is just as He wants it to be.
The making of a beautiful
pot doesn't stop with the kneading process. The pots are then fired.
They are put into a kiln or furnace. These are the real pressures of
life. The marriage fails. The child rebels. The job is lost. The
eviction notice comes in the mail. They ruin your reputation. The
doctor's report says it's cancer. This is where total surrender to the
Potter is the only rational choice to make. When it comes to God it is
perfectly appropriate to say, "I give! Take it all! Take control of it
all! There is nothing left of me." Isn't that just the response He
wanted from you all along? Self-sufficiency may impress men but it
doesn't impress God. Our feeble strength is no match for the strength He
can give. The more helpless we are, the more God can show His power.
God that you trust in Him completely. Repent of your sins and thinking
you can take care of yourself, or that you can solve your own problems.
Stop relying on yourself and men - start relying on God. He knows what
He's doing. Isaiah 29:16 says, "You turn things upside down, as if the
potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him
who formed it, "He did not make me"? Can the pot say of the potter, "He
knows nothing"? Of course not - He knows everything! He is our Creator,
and is the only one who can control our lives without destroying them.
limp in the hands of the Potter. Be pliable and moldable no matter what
comes. God says in Isaiah 30:15, "In repentance and rest is your
salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength."
assessment of a finished pot should reveal an even thickness of the
walls, a pleasing form, well-joined pieces, and it should be made for a
I am making a determined decision
to be a pliable piece of clay in my Potter's hands beginning today. I
have been on the wheel a lot lately, and God's light has shown on many
dark places I still have in my heart. He has made me acutely aware of
the ugliness of my sins, great and small, in His sight. But He has also
let me know that those lessons learned were the exact reasons that I've
been on the wheel. I believe that He is evening me out, and smoothing my
rough edges. He is giving me a pleasing form in His sight. He is
imparting to me His strength to keep my pieces well-joined so they don't
come apart under pressure. And He is daily showing me the designated
purpose for my life.
Repent - Rest - Be Quiet - Trust
will always be marred to some degree until Jesus comes and we are made
just like Him. But in the meantime, being moldable and pliable in the
Potter's loving hands will cause Him to stand back from His finished
product and say, "Ah...You are now a vessel of honor fit for my use."