Summary: The fact that God is correlated to the potter and we are correlated to the clay has profound implications.
The Potter’s Prerogative
1. Some people are pretty shrewd.
2. When a friend received a traffic ticket, he promptly sent the policeman an orchid. Asked why, he explained: "I figure that when he gets the orchid, he will give it to his wife or his girl, who will make him take her out for the evening to show it off—and that will probably cost him more than I have to pay for the ticket he gave me." [source: Reader’s Digest, from Sermon Cenrtal]
3. Some of us have a problem respecting police officers, teachers, parents, or any authority. Although authority can be and sometimes is abused, authority is generally a good thing.
4. And no authority is dis-respected more than God’s.
5. Lost people not respecting God, this I can understand. But those who have been saved disrespecting God, this does not make sense. Yet we sometimes do, in varying degrees.
6. As we study God’s Word, we re-calibrate our respect level for Him. We remember that He must increase and we must decrease. We remember He is the potter, we are the clay.
Main Idea: The fact that God is correlated to the potter and we are correlated to the clay has profound implications.
I. God is the SOVEREIGN Potter (18:1-4)
• next to valley of Hinnom
• red clay, still dug there
• cemetery for non-Jews and strangers
• bought from money given to Judas Iscariot
A. The Potter Held SWAY Over the Clay
1. When Marylu does pottery, some times she comes up empty handed
2. Sometimes she takes it in a different direction than originally planned
3. She can be as creative or original as she wants within her boundaries
B. The NATURE of the clay affects its usability
terracotta (orange), porcelain (white), stoneware (brownish)fires at different temperatures
C. Throughout Scripture, God is Compared to A POTTER
D. What this says about YOU
1. You are an object of God’s attention….
• God gives you undivided attention, because infinity divided by any number is still infinity. You do not really share God’s focus.
• God has formed you, whether directly or indirectly.
• God reigns over all. He does as He pleases. Wayne Grudem writes, "God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he (1) keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them; (2) cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; and (3) directs them to fulfill his purposes." (Systematic Theology, p. 315).
2. The quest for attention is a big quest; Have you ever thought about how important it is to give and receive attention?
• In families, children fight over attention. In marriage, children, work, television, sports, and interests compete with our spouse for attention.
• But, even more amazing, God want our attention. You see, attention is crucial to relationship. The Sovereigns Potter enjoys being with His vessels of honor.
God is the potter, we are the clay. He is God and we are not.
II. We Are the VULNERABLE Clay (18:5-6)
A. Nobody POLLED the opinion of the clay
It is not that clay does not matter to a potter, it does; it is not that the potter does not delight in his work and his products, he does. But the strength, design, skill, and control is within the potter, not the clay. He has all the power, and the clay has none. The clay has certain properties, but no power.
In Romans 9:19-21, Paul builds on this imagery:
• One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ’Why did you make me like this?’ " Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
B. God controlled Israel, Israel did not control GOD
Israel thought whatever attention they gave God was a gracious favor on their part; they did not honor God as God.
• So God controls us.
1. Clay is not very attractive, by itself. It is cousin to mud. But the potter can take the clay and make something beautiful of it. Through shaping it, firing it, glazing it, and firing it again, just about anything is possible.
• In a sense, many of us can relate to this thought directly, those of us who know the Lord. Our lives were without meaning or direction until the Lord found us and began His work of transformation. But we are an unfinished piece of pottery; we are destined for great beauty, but we are in process.