Discover His heart: He desires to shape us into vessels of honor
Years ago I visited a potter who allowed visitors to take a stab at the potter’s wheel. My attempt became a literal mud-slinging contest between me and the wheel – the wheel won. The condition of my clothing testified to that fact. One thing I learned that day was that the master skills of the potter are difficult to replicate by a novice, and the example given to Jeremiah by God at the potter’s shop in Jeremiah 18 became very real to me.
With the Master Potter willing to mold us into useful vessels of honor, why do we choose to allow novices to mold our lives? We often let our own willful desires or those of others to influence and shape us. The results are never what God intended.
“[I] found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.”(18:3-4) As long as the clay was soft and moldable, the potter was able to crush and remold it; but in time, the clay became dry and ultimately hardened. It was no longer possible to refine its shape into something useful. Sadly, this was the shape that Israel was in.
Repentance would have challenged God to start over with the nation that had not turned out as He had hoped. He would have molded it into a nation of honor, but repentance did not come. So God allowed the hardened vessel to be smashed as foretold in Chapter 19 through the Babylonian invasion.
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” (17:7-8) While traveling the countryside, I’ve always been able to know where the rivers and streams are located by the outcrop of trees and shrubs that grow alongside them. Their roots have reached into the water source.
When we make the Lord our hope and confidence rather than choosing the dictates of our own desires, our roots reach deep into the Source. Instead of becoming dry and hardened, we remain fresh and supple, and our presence points others to that Source as they travel life’s countryside. Even in this, we are useful vessels of honor for Him.
Moving Forward: A cherished old hymn comes to mind, “Have thine own way, Lord. Have thine own way. Thou art the potter; I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.”
Tomorrow @ Mark 11-12