Go Down to the Potter’s House (Part 1)
The word that came down to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Jeremiah 18:1-4
I love, love, love! the book entitled, Run With The Horses by Eugene H. Peterson (who is also the translator of The Message Bible). His is a powerful writing style! It is as though not one word is wasted!
Because every word he writes counts, reading only part of the chapter can leave one missing so much and yet…maybe a little is better than nothing at all! With that in mind, here (in italics) I have written excerpts from Chapter 6 entitled, “Go Down To The Potter’s House”.
No one in Jeremiah’s time ever put a piece of pottery on the mantel just to look at, using it to give a touch of elegance to a bare shelf. But neither, and this is just as significant, did anyone use a piece of pottery just because it was useful-always there was evidence of an artist’s hand in it.
Each human being is an inseparable union of necessity and freedom. There is no human being who is not useful with a part to play in what God is doing.
The dust out of which we are made and the image of God into which we are made are one and the same.
Jeremiah knew all about spoiled vessels-men and women with impurities and blemishes that resist the shaping hand of the creator. He rubbed shoulders daily with people who were not useful: imperfections made their lives leak. Jeremiah had other words for it: sin, rebellion, self-will, wandering.
When God brought him to the potter’s house, Jeremiah had never had “such a striking image for the human plight”. As he watched, he realized that sometimes right in the middle of forming a beautiful piece, the pot was spoiled. He began to see that the potter’s work was a picture of our God and His work in us!
Jeremiah continued to observe. What would the potter do now? Kick the wheel and go off in a sulk? Throw the clay at the cat and go to the market and purchase another brand? Neither. “He reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.” God kneads and presses, and pushes and pulls. The creative work starts over again, patiently, skillfully. God doesn’t give up. God doesn’t throw away what is spoiled. Under a different image, George Herbert saw and said the same thing, “Storms are the triumph of His art.”