Summary: Our relationship with God.
Whose Hands Are You In? Part 3
This morning I will conclude this series with a look at what our response should and should not be as we begin to fully understand what it means to be in God’s hands. Previously I shared with you from God’s perspective detailing how He made us and is responsible for us. This morning I will focus on our responsibility as "the clay" in the potter’s hands.
Let me start by making it very clear that I know very little about pottery making so for the sake of this message I will assume that everyone here at some point in their lives have played with clay dough. If you have not, I have some here with me. When you play with clay dough, you can make different shares of things that you like. If it turns out bad you can always flatten it out and call it a plate or ash tray. Anyway, it does not take a lot of skill to design and form something using clay dough. But, if you were a potter and your job was to make fine china and other stoneware, everything you created would carry your signature style and your reputation. If you were creating something and it had a flaw, you would not put that out on the market because your reputation and your future income were tied to the quality of the product you produced. So the potter was in full command of the clay. If he made a mistake it would retool it until he got it just right. The potter was in control. The clay had absolutely no rights as it was shaped at the will of the potter. The clay, being in the potter’s hands, was totally open to becoming whatever the potter decided it was going to be. The clay could not complain when the potter changed his or her mind because the clay understood that whatever it turned out to be, it would be good. The clay understood that it was being developed for something great at the hands of someone greater than itself and so the clay went along with the plan.
I want you to understand this morning that we are the clay and God is the potter. As the clay, we have the right to be shaped into what Go wants us to become without trying to shape ourselves. Turn with me to Jeremiah the 18th chapter. Focus on verses three and four which says:
I. Clay in the Hands of God
"Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make." Jeremiah 18:3-4
Jeremiah was one of God’s prophets in the Old Testament. His name means "God will elevate". He was a God-driven man, fearlessly denouncing the religious laxity and social ills of the nation of Israel and warning of disasters that would follow. Jeremiah’s father was a priest thus he was probably raised in a devout and quiet home. At about the age of eighteen, he felt the call to follow the vocation of a prophet. Because he spoke out against the social norms, Jeremiah was not popular among some of the higher ranking priests and other community leaders. In chapter eighteen, Jeremiah is being told by God as to what god’s plans were in the coming days if nothing changed and the people continued along the same path.
In the opening of chapter eighteen, God was getting ready to give Jeremiah a special word for the people, but in order for Jeremiah to understand what God was going to tell him, God sent him to the potter’s house so that Jeremiah would have a reference point. As we read in verses three and four, when Jeremiah arrives at the potter’s house, he witnessed the potter making a vessel that was "spoiled", one with a flaw. The potter realizing what had happened decided to start all over so he took the clay and reshaped it until it please him. Once Jeremiah witnessed this interaction between the potter and the clay, God spoke to him. This is what God said to Jeremiah:
"Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, ’Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. "Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. AT one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it." Jeremiah 18:5-10