1This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 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. 5 Then the word of the LORD came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10 and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.
In this passage Jeremiah is instructed to go down to the potter’s house and hear the words of the Lord. We do not find in the passage that Jeremiah carried on any kind of conversation with the potter, but that he merely watched him work. The Lord wanted Jeremiah to see the work of the potter with the clay, for if he understood this, he would understand much of the work of the Lord with His people.
16 You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?
THE PREPARATION OF THE CLAY
– Digging of the Clay: The clay is removed from the earth by the potter. (from one environment to another)
The clay is removed with a purpose in mind.
-The Treading of the Clay (Isaiah 41:25). Once the clay is broken up from the rest of the ground it is then tread upon. The treading upon the clay is done to soften the hardness of the clay for the best results upon the wheel.
THE MOLDING OF THE CLAY
There must be Usable Clay. The only clay that makes it to the wheel is that clay that has already been softened by the potter. The clay that makes it to the wheel is clay that has potential to make a great vessel.
-The Moistening of the Clay
While on the wheel the clay can become dry. The potter uses water to keep the clay workable
-The Shaping of the Clay
The shape and purpose of the clay is according to the will of the potter. The clay is not to resist the will of the potter
But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'”
The clay may reveal some imperfections and need to be reformed (Jeremiah 18:4).
THE STRENGTHENING OF THE CLAY
-The Removal of the Clay from the Wheel, and Cutting off the excess.
-The Burning of the Clay
The strength of the vessel comes from the potter’s hand being inside of the clay. It is then able to withstand the outside pressure, because of the potters hand holding it up from the inside.
THE PURPOSE OF THE CLAY
The Usefulness of the Clay
”Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”
2 Timothy 2:21
The clay of your life was formed with a purpose in mind.
In Conclusion: Where do you fit in? Are you on the wheel? Are you willing to allow the potter complete control? Are you going through the furnace? Are you being used as a vessel?
In the second half of 2 Corinthians 9:7b lies a key principle: “…not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Giving purposely guards the giver in being robbed of the joy of giving. A cheerful attitude before God is the goal of the giver. Anything less, grudgingly, forced or last-minute, dampens the state of cheerfulness. A planned timeframe that is reasonable and purposeful causes us to cultivate a spirit of gladness in our giving.