Making ourselves amenable to the Great Potter brings forth character, faith, and a life that glorifies the risen Christ.
HYMN: MY FAITH LOOKS UP TO THEE, THOU LAMB OF CALVARY
TEXT: Jeremiah 18:1-23
In this third part of the lessons on the book of Jeremiah, we draw valuable lessons from Jeremiah’s visit to the Potter’s workshop, as instructed by the Lord. By Jeremiah’s observations of what the Potter did, a divine message came forth. Sometimes, what is seen by the eyes makes a deep impression on our hearts. There are many testimonies of individuals who came into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ through observing the lives of believers. What they saw was as good as a sermon.
The humble workings of the Potter on the clay and his wheel reflect what the Lord does with anyone willing to submit to Him. The ultimate outcome of the finished product is not one conceived by the clay but the Potter. The clay is not expected to struggle with the Potter as it is being worked on the wheel, but only to be available to be worked upon. The clay is not expected to dictate to the Potter to be like another finished pottery. That is the plight of some Christians who want to be like “Brother great Evangelist”, or “Sister great Prophetess”. When we leave ourselves in God’s hands, He makes us into His very image to fulfil His purpose for our lives.
The objectives of this study are:
- To know what Jeremiah saw from his visit to the potter’s workshop.
- To learn from the obedience of Jeremiah to the Lord.
- To learn from what Jeremiah observed of the potter.
- To know the response of Judah to the allegory of the potter and the clay.
- To know the futility of attacking the messenger instead of responding to the message.
Q1. WHY DID GOD SEND JEREMIAH TO THE POTTER’S HOUSE?
Jeremiah 18:2 provides the answer to this question. God wanted to give Jeremiah a message. It was a message that Jeremiah could not have gotten otherwise. He needed to see the potter at work to receive the message that truly reflects the message that truly reflects the mind of God. There are many instances in our walk with the Lord when certain event or individual. From the scene, a message from the Lord arises. In these instances, the natural sense of sight triggers an awakening in our spirits which the Lord uses to bring forth a message. Such a message could be directed at our personal lives and those of others. One can only conjecture why the Lord chooses this way of revealing things to His children. It may be because of being too accustomed to our comfort zones that is becomes necessary to have a different scenery for us to clearly understand what the Lord is saying to us.
Q2. WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE OF JEREMIAH?
Jeremiah’s response was one of obedience. Obedience is the key to a glorious walk the Lord. It was a very simple, unassuming command from the Lord to Jeremiah: “Go down to the potters house, and there I will give you my message”. It could have received such responses from Jeremiah as- “why the potter’s house of all places? why not the house of the Lord? what can come from such a lowly place as the potters house or workshop? why must I go somewhere for the Lord to give me a message?” It is important to note that Jeremiah did not ask any of these questions but he simply obeyed. That is the response the Lord expects from each one of us. It is to allow the Lord to lead while we follow in obedience. In that way the lordship of Christ is truly manifest in our lives.
Q3. WHAT DID JEREMIAH OBSERVE AT THE POTTER’S HOUSE?
Jeremiah observed the potter working on his wheel with clay that was being shaped into a pot. The pot being made did not take the shape intended by the potter, and as such the clay had to be reshaped to one that seemed best to the potter (Jeremiah 18:3-4). A number of lessons can be drawn from the observation of Jeremiah. The first is that it is the potter that determines the final product and not the clay. The second is that it is only clay that is on the wheel of the potter that can be shaped as determined by the potter. The third is that as long as the clay is still pliable, it can be reshaped.
Q4. WHAT WERE THE IMPLICATIONS OF JEREMIAH’S OBSERVATIONS AT THE POTTER’S HOUSE?
The immediate implications of what Jeremiah observed at the potter’s house were for the Jews. “Oh, house of Israel, can I not do with you as the potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.” The sovereignty of the Lord is revealed here, in the same way that the potter determined the final outcome of the clay. The same thought is revealed in Isaiah 45:9-13. Some humans give the impression by their actions and attitudes that they are not subject to the God of the universe. They kill with impunity, treat their fellow men and women as if they determine their destiny, and display arrogance by having others to worship them. Their deceptions mislead others for a while until something that is out of the ordinary happens to them that exposes their human frailty, and then everyone acknowledges the supremacy of the Almighty God. Whatever position of authority we occupy, or how much money we have, or how much fame is ascribed to us, we should always acknowledge the supremacy of the Lord over our lives. It is regrettable to acknowledge this only when faced with the display of the supernatural power of God.
The sovereignty of God does not rule out the power of choice of the individual. It is that choice that caused Adam and Eve to disobey God and choose rather the deception of the devil (Gen. 3:1-7). While the sovereignty of the great Potter is never in doubt, the final product of the clay that aligns with His divine will results from the clay that willingly yields himself/herself to His molding on the wheel. Anyone who is unwilling to be shaped into the likeness of Christ by the Lord will not be forced. However, in eternity every knee will bow to the Lordship of Christ (Phil. 2:10-11). Any person who willingly submits to be shaped by the great Potter will certainly reflect the character of Christ. Pruning occurs on the wheel of the great Potter (John 15:1-2), and the fruit of the Spirit of God-love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control- are nurtured there (Gal. 5:22- 23). Is there a stage when the clay cannot be reshaped? Certainly, when the clay hardens and is set, it cannot be reshaped. There are many situations where this arises. God always makes available a window of time when an individual can be reshaped and, through repentance, grow into the man or woman of God, fulfilling the very purpose of his/her creation. When the clay cannot be reshaped can be linked to when an individual blasphemes against the Holy Spirit to the extent that he/she is unable to come to a place of repentance where he/she can receive forgiveness from the Lord (Matt. 12:31). This can be linked to what the Holy Scripture states in Heb. 6:4-6 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame”. What is instructive here is to heed the promptings of the Holy Spirit when we fall into sin, seek repentance, and continue in the grace of His forgiveness, rather than make excuses or make light the weight of sin, thereby harden our hearts to the Lord.
Q5. HOW DID JUDAH RESPOND TO THE MESSAGE FROM THE POTTER’S HOUSE?
“And they said, there is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart” (Jer. 18:12). The people rejected being like the clay on the wheel of the great Potter. They were set on living in rebellion. The clay was set and the pot is defective. When that happens, the consequence is that the pot will be destroyed and shattered. “Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now everyone from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good”. (Jer. 18:11). It is a stage which no one should get to. The people degenerated further to plan an attack against Jeremiah with the intent of eliminating him (Jer. 18:18). They thought that by so doing he will be permanently silenced and his prophecies of destruction of the nation will not come to pass. They failed to realize that the word of the Lord cannot be silenced. “So, shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isa. 55:11). Many over the centuries of the history of mankind have made attempts to obliterate the Bible but instead they have been wiped off the face of the earth and God’s word has remained and continues to be efficacious in turning individuals to Christ.
It is sad to note that many believers are not properly disposed to criticism and correction. And when such criticisms, which may be well founded, come from subordinates, some Christian leaders use all kinds of worldly and ungodly tactics to silence such individuals. It should not be. This lesson should draw our hearts to repentance and living a life that is pleasing to the Lord.
DAILY LIVING APPLICATION
Each day offers an opportunity for the believer to be on the wheel of the Lord for pruning, encouragement, strengthening, and perfecting. It is a wheel from which the believer cannot run away. There the Lord, as the great Potter, takes off every imperfection and brings out the character of Christ in the believer. Being on the wheel is not a once-off experience. It is not an experience that is attained only in church or in a special revival meeting. It is experienced everyday- at work, in the market place, at home, in school, in relationships, in business, etc. However, it is only experienced by believers who have willingly chosen to place themselves on the wheel of the great Potter. The final outcome is not determined by the clay but by the Potter. In that way, the final product is a life which honors and glorifies the King of kings.
“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy”.
DAILY DEVOTIONAL GUIDE
MON: The Lord is the great Potter.
TUE: The great Potter disciplines His children. Hebrews 12:1-11
WED: The great Potter prunes the vine.
THU: The great Potter promises His children the Comforter.
FRI: Judgement await those who reject the great Potter.
SAT: Eternity awaits those who yield to the great Potter.