Pottery

Have you ever made pottery?

A few years ago, I went with my sister to La Sierra University’s Ceramics Department.  She brought out this lump of clay.  It was hard for me to imagine anything besides a lump of clay, but she already had something in mind:  a mug

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The word for “potter” in the Old Testament is a shaper, fashioner, designer.  It’s the verb used when God creates Adam.  When David said:  “Your eyes saw my unformed substance” (Psalm 139:16), he was thinking about clay.

My sister sees this lump of clay and already sees the finished product.  All I see is a red blob, but she sees:  a mug, a dish, a pitcher, a serving bowl.  When you look into your future, all you see is a dark, undefined, amorphous lump.   But God sees the finished product:  beautiful, glazed, perfect!

So I take the clay, add some water, and start to spin the wheel.  I apply pressure to form it into a cup-shape.  But I push too hard.  The clay gets misshapen and smashed.

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It’s marred!

In Jeremiah, the clay wasn’t marred due to negligence.  Incompetence.  It wasn’t marred while the potter was away from the wheel.  It wasn’t marred outside of his hand.  It was marred in the potter’s hand (Jeremiah 18:4)

The word “marred” is the same one used for the state of the world before the Flood.  The earth is corrupt, marred, damaged, destroyed.  It’s not useful for its intended purpose anymore.  It’s marred.  But it was marred in the potter’s hand.

My sister took that crooked clay, and she reshaped it into a lump.  She added some more water.  She turned the wheel, and with great precision, she reshaped it into a beautiful mug.

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“The potter formed it into another vessel, as it seemed best to him.”  (Jeremiah 18:4)

We thought we had our lives figured out, but it got marred:  you bombed the exam, the market collapsed, the business venture fell thru, the marriage failed.

It started off so beautiful, but now it’s marred:  misshapen, unrecognizable, useless.

When God created the world, he said: “It was good.”  Perfect.  Can’t improve on it.  But sin marred the world into a horrible, lumpy mess.

But somehow, Plan B is more beautiful than Plan A.

Even after sin mars us – God reshapes us into a different vessel, and it’s more beautiful than before.

Have you ever made pottery?

You should go down to the potter’s house (Jeremiah 18:1)

As you see him shape the soft, moldable clay into a useful vessel, maybe you’ll see yourself there.

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