Summary: 1. Hear his call, for his hands formed us 2. Hear his call, for his hands are reforming us
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who pours out his Holy Spirit on us through the Word of God recorded by Jeremiah in the 18th chapter:
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Get up and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will make you hear my word.”
I went down to the potter’s house, and behold he was doing his work on his wheel. The pot that he was making with clay was deformed in the potter’s hand, so he remade it as another pot as it seemed right in the potter’s eyes to do.
The word of the LORD came to me: “Am I not able to do to you, O house of Israel, like this potter?” declares the LORD. “Behold as clay in the potter’s hand so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. At one time I may speak about a nation and kingdom to uproot, to tear down, and to destroy it. That nation may turn from its evil about which I spoke, and I will relent from the evil that I had planned to do to it.
“At another time I may speak about a nation and kingdom to build up and to plant it. It may do evil in my eyes so as not to listen to my voice, and I will relent from the good which I said to do to it.”
“Now say to the man of Judah and the inhabitant of Jerusalem, ’Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I am forming evil against you and planning a plot against you. Oh everyone turn from his evil path and make your paths and works good.” ’ ”
This is the Word of the Lord
Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints of God:
In Jeremiah’s time, pottery was the Tupperware® of that day. If you needed a storage container, it was made out of clay and came from the potter’s wheel. Visualize what Jeremiah saw as he watched the potter. A lump of clay lies on the potter’s wheel. As he spins that wheel, his hands work the clay. That clay almost seems to come to life as the pressure from his fingers rounds the clay and hollows it out, forms the sides and the lip, and a pot appears.
But something was wrong with that pot Jeremiah saw. No problem. The potter’s hands simply reformed the pot as seemed best to him. He was the potter; he could do as he pleased.
The Lord God is our Potter. He has formed us with his almighty hands and reformed us with his gracious hands. He intends good for you, for he is the Compassionate One. He plans blessings for you, for he is the Faithful One. Don’t frustrate his plan by walking in evil ways, ways that may seem good to our natural selves but are not right in God’s sight.
Rather, listen to the Potter’s call. He calls to you and me: “Turn from evil.” That’s the theme today: The Potter calls to us: “Turn from evil.” Hear his call, for his hands formed us. Hear his call, for his hands are reforming us, as well. Hear the Potter’s call, for he calls to you.
1. Hear his call for his hands formed us
a) How do we fail to live out the truth that God is our Maker?
His hands formed us. Think back to the creation account. How did the LORD God make the first human being? He formed Adam out of the dust of the ground. In fact, the Hebrew word translated “formed” at the creation of Adam is the same root as the Hebrew word Jeremiah uses for potter and the work that a potter does as he forms the clay.
The LORD God is our Potter, our Maker. Think of Psalm 119, “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me” (Psalm 119:73 KJV), or Psalm 139, “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13 NIV). We confess this every time we say the Creed: “I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” If he made heaven and earth, he certainly is our Maker, or as Luther put it, “I believe that God has made me and every creature, and has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my mind and all my abilities.” His hand has formed us, like a potter at work.
We know and confess this truth, but do we practice it and live it? We live in a world that is attacking the truth that the Lord God is our Maker. I’m not just talking about evolution that openly assaults our Maker, giving his glory to random chance and a big bang. But so many issues debated in our society are talked about in ways that ignore our Maker. For example, many in both political parties want to use embryonic stem cells to find cures for diseases, even though other kinds of stems cells are available. Yet using those embryonic stem cells destroys the new life God had created, even if they call it a therapeutic use. So also in so many life issues whether at the beginning of life or at its end, the debate ignores who the Maker is and instead carries us along with sentimental reasoning that sounds so caring. The Maker, who alone has the right to choose, is not a politician or a judge or a doctor or a scientist working in a lab. It’s not even the mother. The Maker is the Lord God. He is the Potter who forms us and every living thing, no matter how small. Think of that as you carry out your civic responsibility to vote this Tuesday.