Day 4 Read: Isaiah 29:16; 45:9; 64:8; Jeremiah 18:1-10
You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?
But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words.”3 So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. 7 If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. 9 And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.
Reflect: How is God seen in these passages? What is His purpose?
Consider: In Hebrew this is literally “the two stones.” The potter’s wheel consisted of two stones in the shape of disks. The lower stone was larger than the upper one, and the potter could spin it with his feet while working the clay on top of the smaller stone. If such a potter’s wheel is not known, translators can say “the wheel the potter turns to shape the [clay into] pots.” The second part of the verse could be “I saw the potter making pots on the wheel that turns to shape them.”4
Respond: In what ways are you resistant to the molding hands of the Father? What does the Jeremiah passage teach you about God’s sovereignty? Does that comfort you or make you uneasy? Is your answer influenced primarily by Scripture or personal feelings or experiences? How do you need to reconcile?
4 Barclay M. Newman Jr. and Philip C. Stine, A Handbook on Jeremiah, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 2003), 420.