The Hands Of The Potter
“But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand.” – Isaiah 64:8
The Bible is filled with various metaphors. These metaphors offer vivid mental pictures that help us formulate and understand specific truths within God’s Word. For example, throughout scripture we see the depiction of mankind as a lump of clay in the hands of God. Let me share a few of these verses with you. Consider words of God to the prophet Jeremiah… “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel (Jeremiah 18:6). In Isaiah 45:9 we read, “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker; An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands?’” Furthermore, in the New Testament, we read where the apostle Paul wrote to the early church at Rome and said, “Does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?” (Romans 9:21).
It should not surprise us that we are likened to a lump of clay. After all, was not man created from the dust of the ground? It is a metaphor that reminds believers that God is in control, and that He is constantly working on His children. In light of this metaphor, there are a couple of things that would be good for us to ponder.
To begin with, He holds us and molds us. What confidence to know that we are held in the hands of the Master Potter! But it is not that we are simply an unchanging lump, stagnant in the hands of God. Rather, He is constantly molding us. What does it mean to mold? In the art world, a “mold” is a model or an example. So when an artist molds something, they are shaping something in such a way as to look like something else. This is what the Master Potter does to us; He molds us into the image of His Son.
Secondly, He scrapes us and shapes us. Potters will use etching tools and straight edges to shape their pottery. God does the same to us. There will be times in our lives that He will have to straighten us out as well, and He will do so by scraping away those things that ought not to be in our lives.
Thirdly, He takes us and bakes us. Potters place their vessels in a kiln to go through the fire and be baked. This step is simply part of the refining process. This is also true within the Christian life. God will refine His children through the fiery trials of life. His purpose in doing so is to develop us into a more plausible and usable vessel for His glory.
Finally, He mends us and sends us. The fiery trials of life will certainly bring pain. We might even require touch up and mending. But any necessary mending will be thoroughly accomplished by the diligent hands of our Master Potter. All of these things that the Master Potter does to us is done for one final purpose, and that is to send us out. He sends us out as vessels to be poured out in service to Him and as a blessing to others.
Dear Christian friend; you may feel as if you are simply going in circles in this Christian life, heading nowhere. It may seem as if you are just constantly spinning your wheels. If that is how you feel, it would be good for you to remember that it is not you spinning the wheel of your life, but rather it is the Master Potter. God your Father sits at the Potter’s wheel holding you and molding you, scraping you and shaping you, taking you and baking you, and mending you and sending you. And He does so all by His grace for His glory. You are simply the workmanship of His hands. Make a commitment this year to place yourself in the hands of the potter without reservation.
– Pastor Eric