Thursday, December 20, 2007

We are but clay in the Potter's hand

Jer 18:1-6 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

Jeremiah 18:1-6 is the classic biblical story of clay in the hands of the Master Potter. That analogy is used throughout the Bible.

As in dealing with pottery, the “throw” has been made, and the clay is on the wheel.

The Old and New Testaments represent separate “throws.” The first “throw” resulted in a marred effort. The marring was exactly what God intended.
The Old Testament clay demanded “free will.” Clay cannot mold itself. Free will is an effort in the direction of self-molding; it is nothing more than pride, an illusion of control. Such efforts will always fail. God, is patiently molding creation, He doesn't need or ask our permission to accomplish His will:

In Verse 6, God asks Israel, “Can’t I do with you as the Potter in the story has done with his clay? After all, you are My clay, in My hands, even as the physical clay is molded in the hands of the human potter.”
The response to God’s inquiry is obvious! Both Israel and the Church of Jesus Christ, along with every Gentile represent clay in the hands of the Master Potter and can be done with as He pleases.

In a manner, all mankind represents the clay in His hands. And as we shall see, the Potter, God does as He pleases in the molding process.

Isa 41:25 I have raised up one from the north, and he shall come: from the rising of the sun shall he call upon my name: and he shall come upon princes as upon morter, and as the potter treadeth clay.
The world is similar to a lump in the hands of a Master Potter. As long as the world is in the process of being molded, it will always be in a state of flux.

Again, clay does not mold clay! The Potter molds the clay! Unfortunately, far too many “Christians” want to be self-molded. They reject the pulling, stretching, and seeming inconveniences of being molded by God.

Isa 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

This verse is plain, blunt, and obvious to even the casual reader. We are the clay! God is the Potter! We are the work of His hands! Human ego rejects any such view.

As Isaiah wrote, “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). We have attempted to mold ourselves and it simply did not work. We went astray. In fact, our work will never work!

Jer 18:4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

In the Old Testament, the clay was marred! The Old Testament of a works oriented salvation, or molding proved to be impractical. So, the Potter made another “throw” and began to remake the vessel.

Did you read that phrase that says, “As it seemed good to the Potter”? Do you believe it? Do you trust the Potter?

This time (the New Testament throw), the clay was made in the form of grace! Works were discarded as a means of salvation! The Church was formed as a result of the second “throw.”

Jer 18:6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

This verse represents a re-statement of the preceding verse. It maintains the obvious. God is in control!

Isa 48:11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.

Lam 4:2 The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!

The sons of Zion are comparable to Gold. Gold is molded by heating and melting in a furnace and poured into the mold. Clay is molded and then placed in the kiln. Both require heat to bring forth a finished product. Both are the work of the Master Craftsman. And, neither is self-molded.

Zech 11:13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.

Zech 11:13 And the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter"-- that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter. (NKJV)

Here we find the betrayal.

The Hebrew word translated “prised” in the KJV, means to make a rare exhibit of something, or someone. On the cross, Christ Jesus was made a “rare exhibit” for our benefit.

The price of Christ being treated in that manner, for our iniquity, was thirty pieces of silver. Traitors are very rarely well paid.

Jesus’ life was worth all, and He willingly gave it for all!

I John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

His crucifixion began the second “throw!” Grace and truth came to us through Him. There on the cross, salvation by works was eliminated!

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Eph 2:8-98For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

God’s molding through grace is the only way we will ever find success! Our works do not gain or maintain salvation! Even the faith required is "not of ourselves"!

Rom 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Even Paul the Apostle of grace, the Apostle to the Gentiles readily recognized that we are just lumps of clay, and God may make of us into whatever He wills.

Many want to compare us to robots, but we have never reached the “robot” status. We are just lumps of clay in the process of being molded.

I John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Are you content within the molding process? Are you content in the destiny for which you are being molded?

Phil 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Are you content?

Rev 2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

Let me tell you something that has gone passed many. We may become rulers under Christ, but we will always be “under” Christ! He shall rule!

John 10:10b I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

I John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

The goal of His molding is for our benefit. In His molding, we have life “more abundantly” and our Joy is “full.”

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