If we have to make a choice between the potter and the clay concerning which one is in charge of the production of the pottery, there can be little doubt that the clay loses that battle. This is not bad news for the clay. There would be nothing created at all if the clay were in charge. A lifeless lump does not have the capacity to form itself into something beautiful or useful. The clay cannot exercise the necessary judgment concerning what to keep and what to throw away. The potter must be the one who determines whether the clay will be used for the formation of a delicate vase suitable only for a fine display case in a museum, or a simple rough mug that is meant to hold a hot beverage in a common home.
As we consider the relationship between God and the house of Israel, can there be any question as to who is the potter? The Lord God Almighty is in charge. If He wills that His people continue as a nation, then they shall do so. If He wills that they be destroyed by a foreign adversary, that is His decision and it shall be accomplished.
God calls on His people to hear His Word and to turn from their evil ways. If they will not do this, then He will exercise the potter’s prerogative. In Jeremiah 18 God announces again that He is shaping a disaster against them. They must repent.
This was a call to submission, but His people had already determined that it would be useless for them to follow the Almighty God. They thought that their own ways were better. When conflict arose between them and the Lord, they will followed their own hearts, and ignored God’s Word.
It is not common for people to reject their gods, even when they worship only lifeless idols according to the most uninspired religious traditions. Yet Israel had forsaken her God, the only true and living God. His Law is perfect. The history of His people reveals His love, His power, and His holy character. His wisdom is more precious than the finest gold. Nonetheless, Israel rejected the Lord and His prophet. The result of that bizarre and resolute rebellion is that God had finally sent Israel out of the land, at least for a time. Yet the Lord could never turn away from His settled purpose of displaying the riches of His kindness to His elect.
It was God’s eternal plan that the Lord of Glory would come as a man and suffer for us. His powerful redemption means real life for us. We who have faith in Jesus have become the vessels of the Lord’s mercy. Others have been made for the purpose of His final wrath, and we have no right to argue with God about that. He is the Potter. Let us give Him our eternal thanks as a sincere expression of our gratitude for His eternal love.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Creator God, we have been formed by You and fashioned for Your holy purposes. We live for a time here below. The day of our birth is known to You as is the coming day of death. We will serve You as long as we live. We will abandon our evil plans and deeds. We will return to You. How could we have wandered so far away? We have left the good pathway on so many occasions, yet You grant to us eternal hope through Jesus Christ. Show us the truth of Your Word in the day when enemies dig a pit for our lives. Grant us deliverance and hope, and may mortal foes be made friends through faith in Your Son and the power of the cross. Overthrow the old man of sin within us, and bring the new man of resurrection life into the eternal fullness of joy in Your presence forevermore.