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LESSONS FROM THE POTTER’S HOUSE
Intro: God uses many images to describe His relationship to His people. He speaks of the shepherd and sheep relationship, the husband and wife relationship, a Father and His children, just to name a few. All of these are wonderful and teach us many valuable lessons about life, ourselves and our Lord. However, while we like sheep are protected and provided for by the shepherd; and as a wife, we are loved without condition by the husband; and like children we are constantly under the Father’s loving watch care; there is another aspect of our lives that needs to be factored into the equation.
After all, Jesus did not save us from our sins just so we could go to Heaven and avoid Hell. He saved our souls so that we might be actively engaged in His service here on the earth. Now, if we are to be His servants, we are going to need His power to get the job done. Never let the child of God think that he can do it on his own. John 15:5 makes our dependence upon Jesus crystal clear.
Therefore, perhaps one of the greatest portraits of God and His people to be found in the entire Bible, related to this matter of service, is this picture of the Potter and the Clay. In these brief verses, we can see the plan of the Heavenly Potter on display. Let’s take a few minutes today and look into these verses together as we consider the subject, Lessons From The Potter’s House.
I. V. 1-3 THE POTTER AND HIS
A. The Potter’s Intentions - The Potter has a singular purpose. He plans to take clay and from that clay produce vessels. He wants to make vessels that will reap a profit; that will be found useful; and that will bring honor unto him. The pieces he manufactures are intended to be used by him and others.
saves the sinner by His grace and then He begins the process of changing that
vile sinner into a vessel that will produce a profit for the
B. The Potter’s Ingredients - In order to accomplish this lofty goal, the Potter must work with materials that leave much to be desired.
The slip is drawn off into settling tanks. All stones and lumps remain behind. When the clay has settled, the water is drawn off and the plastic-like material is worked by treading with the feet. The prepared clay is finally packed away and allowed to stand another six months before using, during which time the quality, especially the plasticity, is believed to improve.)
(In other words, the clay, as it is taken from the ground, is worthless. It must be transformed into a useable state and this is a process that takes time and energy on the part of the Potter.
This is a perfect portrait of those lost in sin. We are worthless to God in our natural condition. However, He is able to see the vessels that we can become. Therefore, He begins the process that will bring us to a place of usefulness. He digs us out, washes us clean and dries us up.
This is a clear picture of the process a sinner must go through prior to salvation. The heart is pricked and the conviction of God begins to work in the heart. The sinner is led along in little baby steps until he reaches the place where he receives Christ as Savior. At that point, God begins the molding process.)
C. The Potter’s Instruments - The potter uses several implements to bring the clay to a place where it is usable.
1. A Shovel - This is the tool he uses to dig the clay from the earth. This is a picture of the Spirit of God who comes to where are in sin and speaks to us in convicting power and draws us to Jesus, John 16:7-11.
(Ill. Praise the Lord for the
conviction of the Holy Spirit. Jesus
said it best when speaking to Saul on the Road to
2. A Mallet - After the clay has been cleansed and processed, it is placed on a table and beaten with a wooden mallet. The Potter does this to remove any air bubbles that might be trapped in the clay. If he doesn’t the air bubble will form a pocket that will produce a weak spot and cause the vessel to be fragile and unusable.
3. The Wheels - Describe the wheels - A large bottom wheel, usually made of stone is mounted upon a shaft that sits in a stone socket. Coming out of this large stone is an upright shaft that extends some 3 feet with another, smaller wheel mounted on top. The Potter, using his feet, spins the large, lower wheel. As he does, the upper wheel is turned. This is where the clay is placed. As the clay turns, the Potter will place His hands upon it and shape it according to his will.
(Again, these wheels are symbolic of the circumstances and situations that life brings our way. Life often times seems like a large circle. It seems that we just get past one trial when here it comes around again. These things are hard to take and leave us confused and burdened, but we must remember that the Potter controls the speed of the wheels and they only rotate according to His will. Never forget that God is still in control, regardless of what you are facing in life, and that all things are eventually going to work out to your good - Rom. 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17.)
4. His Hands - While the clay spins around on the wheels, it is never out of contact with the Potter’s hands. He is in constant contact, molding, shaping and bringing the clay along through His loving guidance. If he were to ever remove His hand, the clay would spin right off the wheel and would be lost. Therefore, he remains there with the clay and brings along until it become what He desires it to be
The child of God need never fear that the Lord will walk out on us and leave us to spin out of control. No matter how fast the wheels spin, or what comes our way, we can rest assured that the Lord of glory will never remove His hand from us. He is always in touch with His clay!)
II. V. 4 THE POTTER AND HIS MINISTRY
A. A Problem With The Vessel - Even in the Potter’s hand, things can still go terribly wrong. The fault is not with the Potter, but with the clay. There are times when even with the best of care, the vessel still gets out of shape.
B. The Perception Of The Potter - Because his hand is resting on the vessel, the Potter knows instantly when a problem arises. He senses the changes in the clay and begins taking whatever steps are necessary to correct the problem.
At that moment, He takes the necessary steps to get us back in usable condition. Never think, even for a second, that you are going to hide something from the Lord. He sees it all, Pro. 15:3; Heb. 4:13. He is aware of every thought, every deed and every motive and will allow none to pass before His gaze unchallenged.
If God knows when I have a need, it stands to reason that He also knows when I have a sin or some flaw in my attitude that needs correction. I am kidding myself if I think I am keeping a secret from the Lord. The best thing I can do is be responsive to His touch and yield to His activity in my life. The sooner I reach the place He desires me to be, the sooner He can begin to use me for His glory.)
C. The Patience Of The Potter - Even though the clay is misshapen and deformed, it is still in His hand. The Potter takes the marred vessel, presses it back into a lump and begins again. This time, the vessel may turn out well, but it may also be deformed once again. If so, as long as the clay is moldable and pliable in His hand, the Potter will rework it and reform it until he is able to produce a vessel that satisfies Him.
By the same token, never has the Heavenly Potter thrown His clay away. He has paid the ultimate price for His clay. He died for it to redeem it from sin and from disuse. Now, He is determined that He will make something special out of it. Therefore, the Christian need never fear being thrown out by the Potter. What God saves, God saves to keep forever! John 6:37; 1 Pet. 1:5; John 10:28-29)
III. V. 5-6 THE POTTER AND HIS MESSAGE
A. A Message About Control - According to verse 6, the Potter has absolute control over what becomes of the clay. It is in His hand and He makes of it what He desires.
the usage, it is according to the will of the Potter and those types of choices
are totally up to Him. The clay has no
right to question the Potter’s judgment in the matter of what kind of vessel He
makes of it - (
B. A Message About Compliance - As I was saying, the only duty that the clay has to yield to the will of the Potter. If we want the blessings of the Lord and want to be vessels of honor unto Him, then let us be what He has equipped us to be. All I am saying is that we are to grow where we are planted and use our gifts for His glory. If we will place ourselves in His hands and genuinely allow the Lord to work His will in us, then we will be blessed and will be vessels of honor unto the glory of the Lord.
(Many years ago in the "horse and buggy" days, a man and his wife were driving along a very narrow and dangerous stretch of road. The woman became extremely nervous, and in her fright she grabbed one of the reins. As calmly as possible the husband responded by offering her the other strap, "Oh, no," she cried, "I don't want them both! I could never manage that animal alone!" "Well, then," he said gently, "you must make your choice. It's either you or me. We can't both drive the same horse!" The frightened soul quickly surrendered full control of the carriage to her husband. Everything was once again in good hands, and they journeyed safely onward.)
(Many of us are like the fellow who rode in his car as it was being towed to be repaired. When they arrived at the repair shop, the tow truck driver told him, "I didn't think I was going to make it up that big hill." The man replied, "I didn't either. That's why I kept the brakes on so we wouldn't roll backwards." To live without total dedication to Christ is the same as trying to go forward and to hold back at the same time.)
Conc: As you fly around on the wheels of life, are you confident that God’s will is being done in your life as it should? Can you sense the hands of the Heavenly Potter and He patiently, lovingly molds your life into His image?
If you are a vessel that is refusing to yield in your life, here or there, there is no better time that the present to take care of that need. Will you come to Jesus today and place yourself afresh and anew into the miracle working hands of the Heavenly Potter? Will you allow Him to work His will in your life so that you can be a vessel of honor and glory unto the Lord?
If you have never been saved by God’s grace, you need to know that God loves you and that He will save you if you will come to Him through Jesus Christ His Son. He wants to take your life and make it into a thing of beauty for His glory. Will you come to Him?