Jeremiah 18:1-6 – “This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD : “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 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. Then the word of the LORD came to me:”O house of Israel, 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.”
Soverignty of God:
I love this passage because it declares the soverignty of God to do with us what he will. God has plans. God has purposes. God is at working forming and shaping people. Even though we are marred, he is willing to shape us “into another pot…as seemed best to him.” It all starts with God. The pots don’t come about on their own. The pots don’t choose what they are made of or how they will look. Only the potter can do that.
How God Shapes Us:
How does God go about shaping people and forming us into who he wants us to be? The rest of Jeremiah 18 focuses on discipline from God. 1 Peter 1:6-7 sheds more light on how God forms us through discipline, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
What does the potter do with the pot when it is formed? He puts it under intense heat in order to solidify it into the form that he desires. Why? So that our faith may be proved genuine and result in praise, glory, and honor. What would happen if God didn’t do that? Wouldn’t it be easier on us to not have to undergo any kind of trials or hardship? How would the pots turn out if they did not undergo these hardening trials? What if the pots resisted or jumped out of the refining fire? It would still carry its impurities. It would not harden. It would not be what the potter made it to be. It would not be what it was desinged to be and it would be unable to carry out its purpose as a pot. Refining is just as much a part of human existence as birth just as refining fire is just as much a part of pot making as molding the clay.
What Kind of Pots?
What kind of vessel does God want us to be? What “seems best”? In 2 Corinthians 4 Paul says we are earthen vessels. Now isn’t that humbling! We are frail. We are weak. We often have cracks and holes and imperfections. Paul says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” We may be weak but by the grace of God we are going to make it. It reminds us that this is not of our own power but by His.
What Kind of Treasure?
We may be weak containers but our contents are priceless. Paul calls it a treasure. What kind of treasure? Paul says that this treasure is “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor 4:4).” What is the result of that treasure? The ultimate transformation of these earthen vessels into imperishable ones, “because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence (2 Cor 4:14).”
We may be weak little pots but that is not all that we ever will be. We have the potter on our side and he knows how to form us. He knows how to shape us as seems best to him. He is the one who puts his treasure in us. Doesn’t it look a little silly to put treasure in earthen vessels? We would much rather be gold vessels or silver vessels but we are earthen vessels. That is because we don’t have any value apart from God and the treasure he has placed inside of us. If we remove the treasure, the value is gone because the pot itself is useless without the treasure.
Let us submit to the potter but not just to his molding and shaping. If that is all we do we still won’t really be pots. Let us submit to the full process of becoming the pot he wants us to be and that involves trials of all kinds. Let us realize that we are full of treasure that has been placed there by God and because of that we have value. Let us remember there is more to the story, that the treasure inside us is only the beginning…