Many people dream of being an archaeologist like Indiana Jones, discovering lost treasures from the ancient world. However, actual archaeological digs are usually not so spectacular. Pottery is one of the most common discoveries, in part because it is highly resistant to decay, but also because pottery was so widely used in ancient cultures.
In today’s reading, God instructs Jeremiah to go down to the potter’s house (v. 2). Jeremiah notices that, in one case, a potter started to make one object, but the clay was not cooperating. Rather than giving up on the clay, the potter smashed it and shaped it into something else (v. 4). God used this scene to teach Israel about their relationship with Him.
God is the potter, and Israel is the clay. There is a relationship between them. The clay can be unyielding to the potter’s hand, but the potter remains in control of what happens to the clay. God has the same kind of freedom as the potter (v. 6). This is both a warning and a source of hope for Israel. If God announces judgment against them and they repent, God can relent from His judgment and bless them (v. 8). But if they are rebellious against God, He can reconsider the good He had planned for them (v. 10). Just like a potter, God can change course in the midst of forming the clay to create something else.
Tragically, Israel was being clay that was difficult to work with. They had forgotten God and turned to idols (v. 15). Most significantly, they remained unrepentant. They proclaimed, “It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts” (v. 12).
>> Are you ever stubborn clay? We are at our best when we recognize our position before God. We need to realize that He is the potter. God has called us to submit so that He can shape us in the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29).
When we harden ourselves against You, please soften us. Change our hearts to align with Yours. Teach us to desire the things that You desire, for You are wise and Your desires are holy.