Friday, September 06, 2013

What kind of clay are you?

clay and sculpting tools
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Jeremiah 18:1-17

TO CHEW ON: "And they said, 'This is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart.'" Jeremiah 18:12

God tells Jeremiah to go to the potter's shop to get a message from Him.  There Jeremiah sees the potter forming a pot. When the clay doesn't cooperate and the thing he's attempting to make is marred, the potter doesn't give up. Instead he makes something else.

Though the potter is capable of forming all kinds of pots, his skill isn't the only variable in making pots. My Bible's commentary says: "What the potter makes depends on the quality of the clay; what God makes of His people depends on their response." Roy Edmund Hayden, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 985.

What makes good clay for forming pots? An article about the characteristics of good throwing clay names three things that determine how useful a clay will be to a potter:

  • Plasticity: "Without a very high level of flexibility the clay simply won't be workable on the wheel."
  • Strength: "Throwing clays must … retain enough strength to stand upright when thrown into thin-walled, tall forms."
  • Water absorption: "Clay absorbs water while it is being formed on the potter's wheel, which is why the longer a clay is worked on the wheel, the softer it becomes. Water absorption, then, can become a problem."

If we continue on with the metaphor of our lives as potter's clay, we might say that our lives also need to be

Plastic or moldable:
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, Which have no understanding, Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, Else they will not come near you." - Psalm 32:8,9.

See also  Romans 12:1.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might…" Ephesians 6:10,11.
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit." - Romans 8:5.

See also Romans 6:12-13

Able to absorb water: I would compare this to how we are softened and changed by tests and trials, yet not overcome by them:
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" - Romans 8:35,37.
See also Romans 5:3-5.

Our commenter continues:

 "As the quality of the clay limits what the potter can do with it, so the quality of a people limits what God will do with it."

If you and I are feeling as dizzy and confused about what God is doing with us as a lump of clay on a potter's wheel, instead of declaring, like the people of Jeremiah's time: "This is hopeless. We will walk according to our own plans…" and jumping off, let's stay put. And let's work on improving the quality of our clay, so our Potter can complete the useful thing He has in mind:

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do" - Ephesians 2:10.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to be good clay in Your hands, willing to take whatever shape You can use. Amen.

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
Bible Drive-Thru

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