Read Jeremiah 18
Focus on verse 4
Once there was a potter who had in his mind to make a special pot. As he was working it on the wheel, flaws in the clay made it particularly difficult to fashion the vessel the potter had in mind. As the potter worked the clay to shape it the clay began to protest resisting the potters efforts claiming that it did not care for the shape that the potter was attempting to form it into. After struggling with it for a time the potter finally made a decision, and scraped the clay off the wheel crumpled it back into a lump and set it aside and stepped outside to ponder his dilemma.
When he returned he placed the clay back on the wheel and began again this time forming the clay into a more basic simple shape of a common vessel. Again the clay began to protest, but this time the potter responded, reminding the clay that that it was the potter’s right to form the clay into whatever shape he desired, adding that the clay should be grateful that it had been chosen by the potter to become a vessel rather than to remain at the bottom of the riverbed.
In today’s reading God uses a similar picture to describe His relationship with the nation of Israel, reminding them that if they rebelled and pursued evil instead of walking in obedience to God He would do with them what a potter does when a vessel is not turning out the way he had hoped. He smashes it down and starts over with the process of forming it upon the wheel.
The message for us in this is clear. God as not changed in His character and the way he interacts with His people. Being formed and shaped by God can be uncomfortable for us as we are squeezed and molded to the image the Potter has in His mind for us, but it is worth our while to allow Him to complete the project without resisting. If we allow God to have His way with us, He will form us into exactly the vessel that He can use to fulfill the purpose for which He created us. If we resist His shaping us, we may find ourselves set back in the process and reformed over and over until we allow Him to form us according to His will. Fortunately for us He is patient and merciful and does not give up on us just because we resist Him. We do well to remember, however, that the more we resist the longer the project will take, and the more painful the process may be for us.