Reshaped on the Potter’s Wheel
Years ago we had a cat that unwisely decided it wanted to dart into the house every time the door opened. That was not acceptable to my wife and she quickly and effectively got the message across that an open door was not an open invitation for the cat to come inside. With a little convincing with the use of a fly flap, it was not long until the feline’s antics were reshaped.
Reshaping is not always pleasant, but when done for the right reason, it makes a positive difference.
In the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah we have these words: “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’” (Jeremiah 18:1-2, New International Version). That must have raised a lot of questions in the prophet’s mind as he made his way to see the potter and hear what God had to say to him. The Lord certainly has some unique ways to get His message across, and what an outstanding visual it was that He gave to Jeremiah. Even after all those centuries, the lesson obtained from the visit to the potter’s house still speaks needed truth.
Maybe you are familiar with the setting of that account in the Old Testament and perhaps you are familiar with the context that it occurred in. It was a sad time for the Jewish people. After God had provided for them so abundantly in so many ways, they drifted away from His plan for their lives and set out to do as they pleased. God sent one of their own—Jeremiah—to warn them of what was to come if they persisted in their sinfulness, but his message fell on mostly deaf ears as they rejected the truth that he proclaimed.
As a reminder that there was hope for the sin stricken people if they would turn to God in repentance and follow His way, He sent Jeremiah to watch the potter working at his wheel. The craftsman took the soft wet clay and shaped it as it swirled around on the wheel, but the attentive potter saw that it was not turning out as it was intended; it was flawed. So he patiently reformed it so it could become the beautiful and useful vessel that he desired of it.
The flawed vessel that was reshaped and reworked by the hands of the potter presented a heart searching illustration of how the people of Jerusalem needed reshaping; they were going down the wrong path and God desperately wanted them to turn wholeheartedly back to Him. But He knew their hearts and He knew they would pass up the opportunity. Sadly, this is the response that they would have in their refusal to be reshaped by the loving hands of God: “But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart’” (Jeremiah 18:.12). Their stubborn refusal to submit to the plan of God brought great pain, destruction, and death upon them even though they were a nation chosen and greatly loved by God.
We do not have to look too far and we don’t have to listen too long to realize that our world is filled with hearts that are stubbornly bent on following their own plans with no regard for the plan of God. It is heartbreaking to see the moral degradation that is taking place in our own great nation and the growing disregard for anything that has to do with God, righteous living, and protective spiritual boundaries. Yet as bleak as things sometimes appear, we must never forget that God is able to reshape what is terribly marred.
May it be the sincere prayer of God’s people that those who have drifted far away from God and become something He never intended, will be placed back on His potter’s wheel and reshaped into what He wants them to be. “So the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him” (Jeremiah 18:4b). God is able to do the impossible!