Summary: Why are so many people living with frustration, emptiness, despair, hopelessness, disgust, apathy, or anger? Such people have given up hope of finding relief to their inner ache for answers. Who has the answers and why are so many people still searching





JEREMIAH 18:1-11

TEXT: “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” [Jeremiah 18:4]

The problem with most of us is that we have no clear picture of the God we long to worship. Our image of Him is clouded by the memory of cold church buildings and bitter religious beliefs, by pastors or priests who put the fear of God into us, or by all that we suffered as children from fathers who were absent, emotionally detached, brutal, or weak. All of us have inexact notions of God

So the question is God Himself: Who is He? This is the question to which all others lead - the question that God Himself put into our hearts. And if He put it into our hearts, there must be an answer in His heart waiting to be revealed

Why are so many people living with frustration, emptiness, despair, hopelessness, disgust, apathy, or anger? Such people have given up hope of finding relief to their inner ache for answers. Who has the answers and why are so many people still searching if the answers can be found?

Why are nations facing serious economic problems and hardships that seem not to have solutions? In fact, these problems defy any natural means for their solutions

Let us take a trip to see the relationship God established between Himself and the Israelites. On one such occasion, the prophet Jeremiah was sent to the potter’s house, not to preach a sermon, but to prepare a sermon, or rather to receive it ready prepared to be delivered to the people.

The prophet, therefore, went to the potter’s house and took notice how he wrought his work upon the wheels. In fact, God uses the natural things to convey the message of the spiritual.The potter refers to God; and the clay is reference to the people of God. As the porter works so does God work. The potter works with clay. There are two kinds of potters. One works with the hands and the other applies the wheel in his operations

The potter uses clay to accomplish his purpose - what he tends to form with the clay. He, therefore, picks up the raw clay - without any form, any fashion and any purpose. He then conceives a function (purpose) and form with the clay

The potter knows what he wants to achieve with the clay. However, the clay, by itself, does not understand what the potter wants to do with it. God knows what form He wants to create out of you - a function which He desires of you - what to do with your life. God has a function for our lives - to create a reality

For God to create a form, He uses three things - the WHEEL, WATER, and HANDS. The wheel represents times, seasons, circumstances, situations, and events that happen in our lives. Water represents the Word of God and the Holy Spirit - used to soften the clay so that it can be shaped. The hands of God are to give protection, security, and guidance so that you can be formed

There were two wheels used by the potter in making pottery. The lower one was worked by the feet to give motion to the upper one which was a flat disc or plate of wood, on which he laid the clay to be moulded with his fingers as the wheel revolved rapidly

When the potter takes the raw clay, he mashes or squeezes or kneads it. He makes sure that the clay is prepared - to remove any foreign materials (air, stones, stiffness, etc.)

When God wants to form you into the life that He wants of you, He will squeeze your life. The pains that you are going through is the work of the porter to fashion into the form he has planned for you

God is a God of preparation. He hits the clay on the wheel top in order for it to come into contact with the wheel. Then the wheel starts to turn round; that is the time that the problems also start in your life

You may ask: "What is happening to my life?" Both the wheel and the clay are going round in your life. All of a sudden, everything is going round without any control. But if you look under the wheel, you will see the feet of the porter. God is orchestrating the events of your life

In the Bible, there are personalities whose lives were orchestrated by God - to build their lives to fulfill the purpose of God. One of such men was Joseph. Joseph had a dream that the brothers were bowing before him - an indication that they would serve him in future.

With this promise from God, the wheels began to turn in Joseph’s life in order to give form to the promise as: "Thou shalt also decree a things, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways" [Job 22:28]

To add insult to injury, his father "loved Joseph more than any of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a coat of many colours" [Genesis 37:3]. His father sent him to his brothers in Shechem. They captured and sold him into slavery. He was taken to Egypt and into the home of Portiphar. Later, he was promoted to be the overseer of the house

It was not his brothers who sold him but God who was turning the wheels of his life. He was falsely accused and thrown into prison. But he became a Prime Minister to fulfill God’s plan for him

There are, in our time, personalities like Joseph who had the prison experience – Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Mandela of South Africa, and Obasanjo of Nigeria, and many more. They reached their levels not without pains and sufferings

Later Joseph said: "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" [Genesis 50:20]

God spoke to David that he would be king; and the wheels began to turn in his life. The promise of God did not stop him from his vocation of tendering sheep - shepherd. God knew that one day, the wheels would bring in Goliath who was so armed that no spear nor any army could kill him, but only a stone

So God knows that there must be somebody who can manipulate a sling and stone. In the wilderness with the sheep, David learnt the art of throwing stones - to be perfect. His brothers were doing exciting things but God begins to mould in David a strength, ability and character to confront the giant in his life.

David used the stone to kill lions and bears. For David, he had no plans, no rules. But God was turning the wheels in his life. His father sent him to his brothers at the war front and he met Goliath defying the army of Israel and their God

David volunteered to fight Goliath and was taken to King David. He used the sling and stone to prevail over Goliath. Goliath was well armed - with a spear and an armour bearer

Goliath had an armour that opened up in the forehead, covered by a visor, which moved up and down. For the visor to open, the bearer had to laugh. In those days, sling and stones were used to drive dogs. The Philistine said unto David: "Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves" laughing. Immediately, the visor opened and revealed bare the forehead of Goliath

David quickly slung the stone into the forehead of Goliath and he fell

God is at work in your life. You might think that other people are responsible for the problems in your life. God is turning the wheels in your life for "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" [Romans 8:28]

When God starts turning the wheels, sometimes you will curse Him because everything is going round around you. You may not understand but God is in control of your life

You start business well but suddenly you begin to face financial difficulties; the business comes to a halt. But in order to fulfill the Lord’s plan for your business, the wheels must turn. It is not that God wants to destroy you and your business!. The wheels will not kill you

Things begin to lose their values in your life. When you trust the arm of flesh, the wheels will turn against you. Job went through a similar experience - he lost all that he had.

But God had so much confidence in him that He declared to Satan: "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? [Job 1:8]. Later on, it was reckoned on Job: "So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning" [Job 42:12]

Things happen in our lives we don’t understand; take them as an opportunity for God to mould us to take the form He desires us to be

God begins to work with the Holy Spirit - to make your life mendable. There are people who would not like the water in their lives

When the wheel begun to turn, the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt. The wheels turned several times in their sojourn from Egypt to the Promised Land. They left Egypt and entered into the wilderness and were confronted with quails, manna from heaven and water from the rock

Your life is not an accident. God brought you to earth with a perfect plan for your life. Until the wheels turn in your life, you will never see the end of this perfect plan. The wheels must begin to turn. There is an intelligence behind all that is happening in your life. God is in control; the wheels in your life are turned by God

The Bible tells us that God "will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" [Philippians 4:19]. Because His resources are limitless, He is able to do that for everybody who comes to Him in faith

Do we then have the right to expect that we will never be sick or hungry or in want? Surely, God is concerned for our total welfare, yet He knows best when to withhold and when to bestow His provisions

His ultimate concern is for our spiritual health. We must, therefore, trust Him and acknowledge that adversity sometimes may be God’s means of promoting our spiritual prosperity

The water comes to make things easy for you. The Word of God assures you that He is in control. The water makes it easy for the potter to touch the clay - the form begins to show

These hands are eternal hands of God that have kept the earth from colliding with the asteroids. What about your little life? He who takes care of the sparrow and is aware of the hairs on your head and can keep the earth in position, can keep your life also

Trust in Him. Those hands will protect you and give you stability. If God can keep the stars in position, He will still keep you. Somebody is controlling the affairs of men; He is the Lord Almighty! When those hands begin to hold the clay, it is security and protection

Sometimes the clay is marred in the hands of the porter. When the vessel was marred - got out of shape, or some gravel or small stone, having been incorporated with the mass of clay, made a breach in that part where it was found - the potter was obliged to knead up the clay afresh, place it on the wheel, and form it anew. It then becomes such a vessel as seemed good to the potter to make it

Sometimes your life will be marred, God will not throw you away but will crush the clay in His hands together and return it to the wheel and the work begins again. This process will continue until the clay took on the shape the Great Potter intended. This is what God declares He has power to do with your life. God has not forgotten you in the times and seasons of your suffering and pain. Sometimes there are stones that become manifest and cut off the moulding

The stone could be some weakness in your life - immoral problem, witchcraft, anger, jealousy, backbiting, etc.

As the wheels turn, it is going to destroy your life. As Jeremiah saw the marred clay, he saw that the potter had power to do a second work with the clay. In fact, the potter does not give up on the clay. It is his investment

In the same manner, God will work on you until His perfect will is accomplished in your life

If you have a business and it is failing, you do not give up but find ways to bring it back because you have invested so much and that you have to recoup the investment

If even you do not give up your investment, God will also not give up on you. He will pick up the pieces and put them together so that you can fulfill His purposes. God does not give up on the clay. He can do something good in your life

The potter puts water on the marred clay and puts it back on the wheel top to shape it

Look within your life. Anything you trusted in is gone - the financial system with no foundation in the Lord. God will move them out of your life because they are carnal and He will shape the crisis in your life

God will shake that in which you trust - the new building. Use it but do not trust in it. It is only a channel but God is the source. When one channel is blocked, God is the source

Some of us think that our situation is permanent. Remember that NO CONDITION IS PERMANENT. But He who is in charge of your life is not going to break but He will rather mend you

Sometimes when the wheel turns, sickness is going to come into your body. Suffering and pain are part of the Christian life. When the potter begins to knead the clay, the soldier of Christ should endure hardship - suffering, persecution, and rejection, need, lack. Things are going to turn round - you will lose your job, your car will be smashed beyond repairs, your marriage will break.

Don’t run away - the wheels are turning, still trust Him and you can boldly say: "I know that my Redeemer lives". You do not despair because you know the One who is turning the wheels

If you are in debt, start looking under the wheels and you will see the feet of the Great Potter at work

Moses said to the Israelites: "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall them again no more for ever" [Exodus 14:13]

God must mould that Christian out of you so that you can give up the double standards - the stones - until one day the form is created and is good

God has both an incontestable authority and irresistible ability to form and fashion kingdoms and nations as He pleases to serve His own purposes. God has a clearer title to a dominion over us than the potter has over the clay; for the potter only gives it its form, whereas we have both matter and form from God

This intimates that God has an incontestable sovereignty over us, and that it would be as absurd for us to dispute this as for the clay to quarrel with the potter

One turn of the hand, one turn of the wheel, the addition of water, alters the shape of the clay, makes it a vessel, unmakes it, new-makes it as it pleases God

God formed us out of the clay: "Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay [Job 33:6] and we are still as clay in His hands: "But, O Lord, thou art our Father, we are the clay and thou our potter, and we all are the work of Thy hand" [Isaiah 64:8]

In this year of elections, God is offering us another opportunity for reformation of our dear country. God is still offering us His mercy as a final opportunity if it would be accepted on the terms of Jehovah moulding the nation again like a potter moulding the vessel broken in his hand

As a nation, we need to make our final choice. If we reject this offer by claiming that there is no hope and walk after our own devices, and after the imagination of our evil hearts, there will be judgement and destruction of the nation

In today’s passage at the potter’s house, Jeremiah was first called to observe the work of the potter as he wrought on the wheels, and see how a vessel was marred and made over again

Then application was spoken to Judah assuring them that it was not yet too late to be made over again into a wonderful nation, but they would have to become a clay in Jehovah’s hands

God has pronounced evil against us as a nation and He invites us to return to Him to avert that evil [Jeremiah 18:11]

It would be foolish for a man to leave a land so blessed by the provisions of God for a barren rock; so it is stupid of us to forsake the living God for the worship of idols made with hands

God is faithful and declares His verdict: "If my people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" [2 Chronicles 7:14]

National repentance will stop the progress of God’s judgement on us - to secure our defenses, to enrich our fruit-trees, to strengthen our fortifications. God can as easily raise up a penitent people from their sins as the potter can make anew the vessel of clay when it was marred in his hand

God is a God of second chance. God never gives up on His clay and He will never give up on you, your business and our country. That is why we can say with the Romans writer: "If God be for us, who can be against us?" [Romans 8:31]

Remember, our lives can be re-shaped by the Potter:

God has said to His people, "As the clay is in the potter’s hand so are you in my hand." When we are flawed, God can remake us! When we fall apart at the seams, God can put us back together again!

Our lives are sometimes shattered by mistakes and regrets, but never throw your life away over a flaw, a mistake, or a sin. Never allow yourself to be broken and remain that way. God can reshape you, heal you, and put you back together again ... if you will submit to him as the clay does to the potter!

Finally, God has a word for all of us: “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me”. Is there any more blessed assurance than this?


Tell the Lord: