And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. (Jeremiah 18:4)
Our truth in the Word from the Bible scriptures paints a picture of Israel that we can apply to God’s New Testament people. The last thing we saw marred was a
girdle in Jeremiah 13
. This time we see clay get marred as the potter forms it on the wheels.
As Jeremiah watches the potter making a vessel, something bad happens. The clay is marred. It is corrupted somehow. It can no longer take its intended form. The potter cannot finish it. This happened to God’s people: God was making a nation according to His plan. A study in the Bible reveals how that nation had a purpose, but the people went after their own gods and their own way, corrupting God’s work.
The clay was on the wheel used to form it. The wheel was not at fault. The Potter has the skills to make whatever vessel He desires, so the problem in these Bible verses is not with Him. Although the problem is in the clay, more specifically, the problem is with corruption within the clay.
The hope of the Potter’s house
When God tries to make us into the vessel He wants for His use, we – like Israel – often develop sin problems that corrupt us and we become marred even while the Potter is working on us. The original vessel will never exist now, but thanks to the skill and the will of the Potter, He re-makes us into another vessel for His use.
The pain of the clay
God remade Israel in our study of the Bible, but first there was a painful process as the clay was transformed from a partially finished vessel into a lump of clay like it was when the Potter first put His hands on it.
Similarly, we feel the pain when God’s hands break down our form and our usefulness to return us to a lump not unlike the one we were when we first received the New Birth. Although uncomfortable and even frustrating, we soon forget the pain of returning to the lump as we feel God’s hands return to mold our lives afresh and anew.
The girdle vs. the clay
When God used Jeremiah to give the sign of the girdle, the girdle was permanently marred. In some ways, God’s people who turn away from Him will never be the same. However, the clay shows no sign of being marred after the Potter returns it to a lump and reforms it. The finished work renders no evidence of the failure, disappointment and loss that occurred earlier on the wheel.
Thank God, the Potter does not throw the clay away.