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Summary: This message is about the clay in the hands of the potter. The clay must be committed, submissive, and pliable.

“Focus”

“Who Hand’s are You In?”

by Donny Granberry

Jeremiah’s life and Jeremiah’s book are a single piece.

He wrote what he lived, he lived what he wrote.

There is no dissonance between his life and his book.

Some people write better than they live while others live better than they write.

Jeremiah, writing or living, was the same Jeremiah.

This is important information for us because Jeremiah is the prophet of choice for many when we find ourselves having to live through difficult times and want some trustworthy help in knowing what to think, how to pray, how to carry on.

The times in which we live are certainly disruptive.

There have certainly been comparable times of disruption in the past that left everyone reeling, wondering what on earth and in heaven was going on; but whatever their occasion or size, troubles require attention.

Jeremiah’s troubled life spanned one of the most troublesome periods in Hebrew history, the decades leading up to the fall of Jerusalem in 587 b.c., followed by the Babylonian exile. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

And Jeremiah was in the middle of all of it, sticking it out, praying and preaching, suffering and striving, writing and believing.

He lived through crushing storms of hostility and furies of bitter doubt.

He experienced it all agonizingly and wrote it all magnificently.

What happens when everything you believe in and live by is smashed to bits by circumstances?

Have you ever thought that your plan was better than God’s plan?

Does it lead to an abandonment of God?

Anyone who lives in disruptive times looks for companions who have been through them earlier, wanting to know how they went through it, how they made it, what it was like.

In looking for a companion who has lived through catastrophic disruption and survived with grace, biblical people more often than not come upon Jeremiah and receive him as a true, honest, and God-revealing companion for the worst of times.

Have you ever been working diligently on something, and when things go wrong, you try, and try, and try to correct it and finally come to the place where you have to start over.

The difference between a vase and a vase’ is in the one whose hands shaped it.

Jeremiah 18:1-7 NIV

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message." 3 So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 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. 5 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

To make a pottery vessel, a potter must find the right clay, and purify and cure it to make it usable.

Raw clays have traditionally been put into large vats to remove foreign matter such as sand and pebbles.

When clay is washed these materials settle to the bottom while the clay remains suspended and is poured off.

Clay washed in this manner is known as slip.

The slip is then kneaded to get air bubles out of it.

Afterward, the potter will place the clay on the potters wheel and begin to form and mold a vessel from it.

Ceramics formed by Pablo Picasso, an artist who died only 38 years ago have been sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A vase made in China’s Ming Dynasty sold at an auction last year for 78.5 million.

1. Submission to God.

Our submission to God as the one who molds both our character and our service to Him determines to a large extent what He can do with us.

Submissiveness to God is fundamental in the life of the believer.

Not merely submissive in words, but complete submissiveness.

Submissiveness comes from within, and not without.

Matthew 21:28-31 KJV

A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. 29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father?

This to me is liken to the clay that has not been cleansed and has sand and rocks or shell in it.

I remember when I was in Jr. High School, I made a vase in art class.

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