Qualified to be Clay
One of the more well known passages of the Bible from the book of Jeremiah is found in the first 11 verses of chapter 16:
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” 3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! 7 The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, 8 if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. 9 And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, 10 if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it. 11 “Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.
In this passage, God uses a potter and clay to teach Jeremiah a lesson that he could teach the people of Israel. We would do well to learn this lesson also. We are clay and God is the potter. We are the creation and God is the creator. I think there are two basic responses to this truth. The first is a rejection of who God is and who we are. Those who reject this idea are offended to be labeled “clay”. They want to be the potter. They are not content with being the clay. They want to fashion their own lives the way they see fit. They want the power to make and mold themselves. The problem is that mankind is not qualified to be the potter. One of the lessons of this text is that as silly as it is for us to imagine the clay telling the potter what to do, it is just as silly as man telling God what to do. The other, right response to this lesson is to rest in the fact that we are the clay. We are NOT qualified to be the potter. We are not sovereign or eternal as God is. We often do not know what is best for us. We are simply qualified to be clay. But clay is awesome when it rests in the hands of the potter. Clay can be molded into a beautiful vessel when it stays in the potter’s hands. When we allow God to mold us and fashion us as He desires we can be used by Him for His glorious purpose. So, rejoice in the fact that you are only qualified to be clay….clay in the hands of an amazing God!