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The Potter's Hands



Jeremiah received the Lord’s word: Go down to the potter’s house, and I’ll give you instructions about what to do there. So I went down to the potter’s house; he was working on the potter’s wheel. But the piece he was making was flawed while still in his hands, so the potter started on another, as seemed best to him. Then the Lord’s word came to me: House of Israel, can’t I deal with you like this potter, declares the Lord? - Jeremiah 18:1-6 CEB


This passage tells us that the Lord told Jeremiah the prophet to go to the potter’s house. The passage says that the Lord sent him to the potter’s house and there he will be given a message. So, Jeremiah goes, and just sits and watches. The potter takes a lump of clay, a formless glob of earth and water and right before his eyes, a useless lump of useless mud, is made into something useful, quite remarkable. Something of no value, common, is turned into something valuable, worthwhile, beneficial.


This is what God wanted Jeremiah to see.


Yet the message is for us today as well. We are the clay is in the potter’s hand, in God’s hands. We are to be shaped and molded into something pleasing, worthy, beneficial, useful as well. We are to be shaped into disciples. That is our ambition to achieve as a Christian.


In the days of Jeremiah, sculpting clay was not what it was today. Back in Jeremiah’s days, clay was earth, dirt, or mud that was scooped up and mixed with water. The glob had to be softened before it could be fashioned. It had to be mixed with the right amount of water and then sifted to remove any stone or foreign objects that didn’t need to be there. Once refined, the potter would place the clay on a clean floor and begin walking on it, back and forth, over and over until all the air pockets were removed.


We can say that this is what we need to do in our own lives. To prepare ourselves for God’s touch in shaping and molding us. To humble ourselves, to be open, to eliminate any rigidity in our lives so that we are malleable enough to be shaped. To open ourselves to God’s touch through Scripture, through worship, through community, through study, through servant hood. To allow ourselves to be used wherever we are in life.


There is one point in the Scripture that I hope you noticed. At one point the clay became flawed, spoiled, you could almost say ruined. But the potter squeezed the clay into a new lump and started to re-form it. He was able to take the clay that was marred and still mold it and shape it into a piece of earthenware.


No matter what shape your life is in, no matter what flaws you have in your life, no matter what you have done in the past, the divine Potter can shape you.


WATCH: As shared in this devotion, in many ways our lives can be likened to clay in the potter's hands. As we trust in the artistry of God, the divine Potter, our lives take shape, and we are transformed into his image. As you watch this video which uses the imagery of a potter working on clay in his workshop, reflect on God's shaping process in your own life.



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