The Potter’s Hand
March 14, 2021
The Potter’s Hand
Jeremiah 18:1-6 (NLT)
The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, (2) “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” (3) So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. (4) But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. (5) Then the LORD gave me this message: (6) “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 (NKJV)
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. 21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
2 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV)
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
Isaiah 64:8 (NLT)
And yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.
Isaiah 29:16 (NLT)
How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”?
When Jeremiah arrived at the potter’s shop and entered, he saw:
some clay that could not improve its condition, it was just clay.
He saw a revolving wheel turned by the potter’s foot.
He saw a pot of water used for softening hard clay and making it malleable.
And, he saw a scrap pile, where discarded clay pots were placed that just would not yield to his design.
Lastly, he saw the potter himself.
1. Clay pots are shaped by the skill of the potter alone. Their worth comes from the molding made by the potter.
The clay can only yield to the influence of the potter. Only the potter can mold a lump of clay.
The potter sets a lump of clay in the center of his molding wheel. The molding wheel represents the circumstances of daily life, as God deals with us and our responses to the pressures that each day brings. Our character is developed in the daily grind of life.
Our heredity, our temperament, and our environment is pretty much out of our control.
If the clay is not in the center of the molding wheel, then it will turn out lopsided and unusable.
Life must be balanced with both pressure and ease to bear fruit.
Job 10:9 (NKJV)
Remember, I pray, that You have made me like clay, and will You turn me into dust again?
Clay is of little value apart from the potter. THe potter alone determines the value of the clay by what he produced with it.
God breathed on the clay from the ground, and gave us value.
Genesis 2:7 (NLT)
Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
We value human life above animal and plant life because we are created in God’s image.
Genesis 1:26-27 (NLT)
Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” (27) So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
At a pottery auction or art auction – the value of the piece is determined by the artist…
The value of clay lies in its ability to retain the pattern given to it by the potter!
2. Some clay pots become marred as the clay resists the pressure applied by the potter.
But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.
Jeremiah was watching the potter mold a pot, and it suddenly collapsed under the pressure of being molded.
It doesn’t say why the pot collapsed. But the collapse must have had something to do with the response of the clay to the touch of the potter.
Romans 9:21 (NKJV)
Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
There was a flaw in the clay that caused it to collapse.
Sin in life, in all of its forms, can hinder the work God is seeking to produce in us!
This could be open sin, or sin in the imagination stage, something being thought about and not yet acted on.
Romans 6:12-13 (NLT)
Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. (13) Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.
King Saul had skill and was popular with the people, but a flaw, a personal sin, self will, removed him from what God had for him.
Samson was used by God to defeat Israel’s enemies, but personal sin, a lust problem for Philistine women, kept him from God’s best and cost him his life!
Sins like jealousy, pride, selfishness, are just as abrasive to God as the grosser sins of the flesh, but all hinder God’s work in us.
It may be resistance to the known will of God.
It may be an improper relationship, such as a friendship with a person who is steering your life away from God and His standards for you.
Or it may be an opposite sex relationship that is meeting a need that only your spouse should meet.
1 Corinthians 15:33 (AMP)
Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.
Whatever it is, when we surrender it to the Lord and confess it, the flaw in our clay is removed.
1 John 1:9 (NLT)
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
1 Peter 5:6 (NKJV)
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
1 Peter 2:1-2 (NKJV)
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
John 17:17 (NLT)
Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.
John 8:31-32 (MEV)
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you remain in My word, then you are truly My disciples. 32 You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
3. Some clay pots must be reshaped by the potter.
Sometimes the lumps in the clay prohibit the process of shaping it. And the pot must be remade.
Jacob had a problem with self will, and God put him in a place that he had to deal with it.
Genesis 32:24-28 (NLT)
This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. (25) When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. (26) Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me. (27) “What is your name?” the man asked.vHe replied, “Jacob.” (28) “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”
Jacob had to deal with self will. He walked with a limp the rest of his life.
God used Moses, but he had to work through killing a man at age 40, and Moses had to deal with fear of public speaking as well as his age. He was 80 when God began to use him.
Gideon let fear grip him when God spoke to him about leading Israel to victory over the Midianites.
Samson had a lust problem with Delilah and it cost him his freedom, his eyesight, and eventually his life.
David had a lust problem with Bathsheba, and it cost him. His family life was never peaceful after that.
What lump is in your clay? What is in you that is keeping you from God’s best?
4. Clay pots are perfected in fire.
When a potter is finished forming and marking a clay pot, the pot is placed in a kiln and “fired” to make permanent the shape and markings.
A shield is placed over the clay pot as it is placed in the kiln so that it will not be destroyed by the fire.
Isaiah 43:1-2 (NLT)
But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says, Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. (2) When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
Isaiah 48:10 (NKJV)
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2-4 (PHILLIPS)
When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realise that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11 (ESV)
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
What is the potter doing in you right now.
Are you being molded by His hand?
Are you changing or resisting change?
Are you being stripped down to nothing and feel that you are starting over?
Are you in the kiln – a huge test that is revealing what you need to change?