Jeremiah 18:1-6, “The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”
When a potter gets clay out of a pit, he cannot use it in it’s present state. It is dirty. The clay is helpless, because it cannot clean itself. The old-fashioned potter, like the potter of Jeremiah’s day, has a way in which he personally and patiently washes the clay. Only then can he use it.
God cannot use us as we are because of our sin. Just as the clay cannot clean itself, neither can we. Only the shed blood of Jesus can cleanse us from sin.
I John 1:7, “…and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
D.L. Moody said, “God doesn’t seek for golden vessels, and does not ask for silver ones, but he must have clean ones.”
After the potter has washed the clay, he puts it on his wheel. It is very important for him to place the clay in the center of his wheel as the clay can only be shaped and molded when it is in this position.
In the same way, God can only mold us into a usable vessel when we are living in the center of His will.
Are you currently living in the place that God wants you to be?
Are you choosing daily to walk with Him according to His will?
The potter will then make the clay into whatever type of vessel he chooses. As the potter is forming the clay, he has a vision in his mind of what the clay will become. The potter does not explain this vision to the clay, as that, of course, would seem absurd. The clay does not posses the ability to understand the potter’s vision.
Even though we are all made from the same clay, the Lord has a specific purpose for each us. Every individual is made differently for a distinct purpose. As He is molding and shaping us, He has a specific vision of what we are to become. He brings pressures and trials into our lives to form us into His image. We do not always understand these things, but He knows what the end product is that He is seeking to create.
When the potter is finished shaping the vessel, he places it into the fire. The vessel is then placed into the oven on a stone. This stone has faced the fire before and is a picture of the Lord Jesus. Jesus has already faced the fire. We can trust Him because He has already gone before us and He goes with us into whatever “fires” we may go through. Trials and testing are not pleasant but are needful to make us more useful.
When the potter removes his work from the fire, he examines it. If it has withstood the fire, it becomes rock again. At this point, the potter has something useful but not yet beautiful. With his skillful hands, he paints his pieces and then covers them with a powder prepared from a rock of his own choice. This being completed, the pieces still have no beauty. He puts them back into the fire. The fire brings out the paint’s beauty, and the powder is changed to a beautiful glaze. The beauty covers all that was once clay.
Isaiah 43:2-4, “…when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee:”
God allows more trials to come into our lives as the years pass so that our lives may become beautiful to Him. As we grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ, the beauty of Christ will be displayed in our lives.
Today, we will examine the first way we can become God’s masterpiece:
Becoming God’s Masterpiece: In Our WALK With God
When we are saved, we become a lump of clay in the hands of the Lord. The Potter only works with soft clay. We have to be willing to be molded into a beautiful vessel by the hands of the Lord. With every trial that comes in our lives, He is shaping us into what He would have us to be. God is looking for soft, pliable hearts.
If the clay is hard, the potter will spend days pouring water on it and pounding it thoroughly until it becomes soft. It took God 20 long years of “pouring and pounding” until Jacob’s heart became soft enough. Moses needed 40 years of desert life to become the meekest man on earth (Numbers 12:3) who could lead Israel out of Egypt.
The Bible warns us not to harden our hearts in Hebrews 3:15, “Today, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”
We need to get in the word of God and allow it to work in us and transform our lives. The more we allow God to mold us and shape us according to His will, the more useful we will be to Him.
Romans 8:28-29, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
God is working all of our trials together for good to shape us into the image or likeness of Jesus Christ. In order for the Lord to mold us, we need to walk close to Him. We need to be abiding in His presence on a daily basis. We need to be communicating with Him through prayer and allowing Him to communicate with us through His Word.
Are you walking close to the Lord so that He can shape you and mold you into a useful vessel?
Stay tuned for part two of this series! We will take a look at two more areas we need to examine if we are going to become a useful vessel in the hands of the Lord.