Saturday, January 5, 2008

Clay in the potter's hand

I often find myself asking the question, 'Does God have a plan b?'
Perhaps Jeremiah 18:1-6 clears it up;
'This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD : "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message." So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.'

According to the human eye, the clay is marred and perhaps will always be 'marred' i.e. blemished, flawed, stained, disfigured, spoiled. In the light of an earlier blog on the subject of 'hearing, believing and then seeing accordingly', we've already arrived at the final stage here, meaning that what we're seeing is already settled as something we believe, because...we see according to what we believe. But if we take the time to 'go down to the potters house' (v2) we may just 'see' something different. The revelation is a change in perspective.

The first thing I see is that the jar was marred 'in his hands' (v4). It never left. It may not have been His will that it was marred, but through the disruption and the dis figuration, it never left the sovereignty of his hand.

The second thing I see is that not only was the jar marred, but as the first step toward restoration, it was crushed! 'But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.' (v4 NLT) . Interesting that if you think about the life of the Israelites in the OT, something was crushed consistently in order for the people to be restored in the eyes of God. But then Jesus came and 'was crushed for our iniquities...' (Isaiah 53:5). He was crushed on our behalf, so that in him, we might be perfectly re formed. The perspective changes from being crushed in failure to being crushed in the name or redemption.

The third thing I see is this; 'the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.' (v4) He shaped it 'as seemed best to him.' I don't see the clay attempting to re-shape itself!

And the fourth thing I see is that he used the same clay to form the new pot. He didn't throw out the marred and crushed clay to then reach for fresh unformed clay, but he crushed it and started over with the same piece. 'But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.' (v4)

So does God have a plan b? or just a reformed plan a that's restored to a greater place than it ever reached before?

I'll go with the latter!

1 comment:

cracked & leaking said...

It's 2009 and God's word for the circumstances in my life continue to ring true. As long as we remain as clay in his hands, he's able to do above all that we could ask or hope for.