Summary: "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." Become a new creation through Jesus C
One Sunday morning a Minister preached a very short sermon. He explained, “My dog got into my office and chewed up most of my sermon notes.” At the close of the service a visitor said to him, “If your dog ever has puppies, please let my Pastor have one of them.”
This morning we’re looking at a passage from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah lived during the time of the divided kingdom – the nation of Israel had split into two kingdoms, the northern Israel and the southern Judah, and both had separate kings ruling over them. In both, most of the kings were evil, distant from God and self serving. As you know, both kingdoms eventually were overthrown and God’s chosen people were thrown into captivity. Jeremiah was both a prophet and a priest, serving in the southern kingdom of Judah. In many ways it would have been easier to just be a priest, carrying out priestly duties in the Temple everyday. The ministry of a prophet, however, was quite another matter because you never knew from one day to the next what the Lord would call you to do or say. The priest worked to conserve the past by serving and protecting the ministry, but the prophet labored to change the present so the nation would have a future. When the prophet saw the people going in the wrong direction, he sought to call them back to the right path. And this is what Jeremiah sought to do. He served under mostly evil Kings, warning them to cease idol worship return to an obedient, Godly way of life. Jeremiah’s words were ultimately ignored and in his lifetime, he witnessed the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and Judah’s fall to the Babylonians in 586 BC.
Perhaps one of the most well known of all of Jeremiah’s writings is found in chapter 18, and his words are as relevant today as they were 2500 years ago. Over 30 words in the Hebrew vocabulary relate directly to pottery, because manufacturing pottery was a major industry in the near East in that day.
These words are sung often when we sing “Change My Heart O God” – “You are the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me, this is what I pray.”
“The clay is not attractive in itself, but when the hands of the potter touch it, and the thought of the potter is brought to bear upon it, and the plan of the potter is worked out in it and through it, then there is real transformation.”
Listen to Jeremiah’s words:
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. 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. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 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. “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions. (Jeremiah 18:1-11)
Notice what Jeremiah says in the beginning verses? “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.” The pot was marred in the potter’s hand, so he began again. He did not throw out the clay and completely start over with new clay. He uses the existing clay and molds it into a new pot. This is what God does with us. He constantly molds us and shapes into something new. God doesn’t give up, providing we don’t shut God out of our lives. If we are faithful and obedient, we can be transformed through Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul gives us these words in his 2nd letter to the Corinthian Church: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come.”