Pastor’s Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 18-19
The potter is a much-needed lesson and one that every generation needs to learn. What is the message of the potter? It is that God has the sovereign right and power to heal or not heal, to give certain abilities or withhold certain abilities, or to give opportunities or withhold them as He chooses. However, God does not use His sovereign right and power in an impulsive, unreasonable, or dictatorial way. God is not a tyrant who randomly chooses to bless some people and seemingly curse others. His sovereign right and power are governed both by His holy nature of love, grace, and mercy and by His holy nature of righteousness and justice. The LORD Himself explains the lesson of the potter, a lesson that should significantly help the reader understand the sovereignty of God. God in His sovereignty knows what we need, the job He has for us to do, and what is necessary for us to accomplish His will. We struggle with the desire to impose our will upon the potter. We want to give our input for what we desire and expect. How foolish for the clay to think he can impose his will upon the potter. The potter has absolute control over the clay, he knows what vessel he is trying to make, the best way to make that vessel, and what that vessel will be used for upon completion. As he works with the clay he finds it is marred. He understands that this defect will affect the quality of the vessel and ultimately its usefulness. Therefore, “he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” (vs. 4) The Lord said to Jeremiah, “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?… Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand…” (vs. 6) The age-old question is, “Why do bad things happen to good people, and why do good things happen to bad people? Are we not content to let God be sovereign? Do we really believe our justice system needs to rule over the God of the universe? Do we really want our finite sight ruling in the affairs of the whole world? Would we really rather forfeit the infinite wisdom of an all-knowing, all-seeing, and ever-present God for our finite prejudice? God knows what He is doing in your life and how it fits into His immutable plan for the universe. He never interferes with your will or decisions, but has masterfully determined His master plan with our decisions and the decisions of the whole world woven into that plan. He is at work, masterfully molding you and me into a vessel that is suitable for His will. When we are marred by sinful and selfish decisions, He masterfully makes us into another vessel that seems good to Him. What a picture of God’s grace, mercy, long suffering and forbearing nature. He doesn’t just throw the clay away once it is marred. Israel made decision upon decision that was contrary to God’s wonderful plan for them. It cost them dearly through consequences, but God masterfully still produced the Messiah, the Lamb of God from this often rebellious and sinful group of people. Even in this passage as Jeremiah is delivering the message from the Lord, the people said, “let us device devices against Jeremiah, … Come let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.” (vs. 18) Jeremiah in his lack of faith says, “shall evil be recompensed for good? For they have digged a pit for my soul…” (vs. 20) In other words, “I have done what you asked and they are falsely accusing and slandering me. How can this be right?” May I remind, you as I remind myself, that God knows what is best. He doesn’t need the input from the clay to tell Him what to make and how to make it. He will do what is best according to His infinite wisdom! We serve a sovereign God!
• Lord, please help me to grow in my faith. I am often so arrogant in my opinions and preferences. Please help me to act like clay instead of wanting to act like the potter.
• Lord, thank you for your patience with me. Thank you for working in and through my life over and over again. Thank you for patiently molding my life into the image of Christ and into a vessel that suits you.
• Lord, please help me to demonstrate that same kind of patience, long suffering, and forbearing nature as I learn to love my wife more every day, parent my children, and pastor the church you have so lovingly entrusted to me.