Jeremiah was given the invitation to go down to the potter’s house. Not long ago I could feel the Lord leading me to look deeper into this, calling me to go down to the potter’s house. There, Jeremiah said, the potter did a work on the wheels. The vessel that had been marred by the hands of the potter was made again a new vessel. As I read these words I could feel myself begin to ask the question, â€œWhy did the potter have to do something so harsh?â€
So I sought to find the process of the potter. As I often do when I don’t understand something, I began to research the subject on the Internet. What would we ever do without Google?
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Then the word of the Lord came to me saying,
O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
What does it take to make a vessel meet for the master’s use, as stated in 2 Timothy 2:21?
The first step to this was that if there were certain impurities it was absolutely necessary that the potter completely mar the vessel. These problems could be fixed no other way. But even under these dire circumstances, still the potter did not throw the clay away. There is a field behind the potter’s house where all the broken vessels lay. On this day, as we round the corner to this house in the valley, we see the potter out in the field behind his house. He’s reaching down to lovingly scoop up broken pieces of clay to take into his house. Once inside, we watch as he takes a rock and proceeds to continue to break the down the clay until there is nothing in front of him but finely ground powder. If we could take the personification that scripture puts on clay and give this broken pot a voice, it is then we might hear something to this effect, â€œOh, Master Potter, it was bad enough when you broke me and put me out in the cold field the first time. Why did you pick me up and bring me in here just to hurt me again?â€
But the Master Potter is kind, even when we think he’s not. To the whine of the clay he lovingly replies, â€œI can only work with clay that is moldable. Be patient; I have great plans for you.â€
Then the clay is put into cool clean water. Just imagine how the wounds must feel washed by the healing touch of pure atoning water. Then he proceeds to place the new lump on the wheel. The Master Potter’s skilled hands begin to mold the clay. Gentle pressure of the Potter’s precious nail pierced hands begin to pull up new walls on a vessel that, this time, will be worthy. The clay is growing! But the clay weâ€™re watching has human characteristics. Humanity has a tendency to compare themselves among themselves. Even in the midst of this special time of communion with the Potter, the clay begins to notice the vessels on the shelf. He begins to notice how completely important they look. The clay asks for promotion. In compliance to the clay’s request a cutting wire is used and the clay is taken from the wheel and placed on the shelf where it so desired to be. There the drying process takes place.
It doesn’t take long for the clay to notice how different this feels. But, he figures, this is how it’s meant to be. But days go by and he remembers his special times with the Potter. This is really starting to get old. H e begins to communicate, once again, with his maker. â€œNow Potter, when do I start to do the important stuff? I’ve been sitting a long time now, and I’m dry and thirstyâ€¦â€
The answer comes softly, â€œThis is what you asked to do.â€
â€œI thought I was asking for a ministry.â€
â€œThe first step to a ministry is the wilderness.â€
The clay begins to wonder if the Potter really meant what he said when he had him back there on the wheel. He had said he had big plans for him. But now it looked like he was going to leave him here forever. What the clay doesn’t realize at this time, though, is something very important. Adversity is replaced by anointing. While the Potter’s plan is performed, the old pot is dying to its will. The clay is learning the importance of communication with the Potter. Just as the clay decides he’s willing to stay on the shelf forever, if necessary, the Master Potter says, â€œOkay, time for the next step.â€
The kiln. The fire is hot. There are many other vessels in the oven also; this is a group firing. The clay looks around in disgust. At this point he’s not too happy with any of these other vessels. Why did he ever long to be like these guys? You see the fire exposes the weaknesses of all vessels. â€œOh, Master Potter, I’m dying,â€ cries the clay. â€œIf you love me, youâ€™ll get me out of here!â€ But the heat only gets hotter. It’s necessary. Finally, he does remove them from the oven. They are set back on the shelf. It’s better than the fire. He’s not sure he ever wants to be promoted again. It’s just not worth it.
But once again the Potter speaks, â€œAre you going to sit there? Don’t you want to accomplish your purpose?â€
The glaze is poured. The paint is applied to all the vessels on the shelf. Something is revived in the clay, that now has turned into a beautiful vessel. He remembers the dream the potter formed within him while on the wheel. Now he answers, whereas before he hesitated, â€œLord, I can’t just sit here. I want to help others who are broken to be remade into a fit vessel. Any pain I must face to be used of you is well worth it.â€
Again, the vessels face the kiln. There is weeping. The vessels are being commissioned. Again pain and glaze and a second fire is the lot that falls to the vessels. A time of separation, a time of death, is coming. The fire will remove all impurities left in the clay. There is no oxygen. The kiln is filled with black soot. This is Gethsemane for the clay. The clay feels completely alone although surrounded by many more just like him. All is black. He cannot even sense the closeness of his companions. Everything familiar, seems lost in the fire, along with pride, arrogance, and desire for position and personal glory. The fire is meant to purify. In the second fire the anointing comes.
At that moment the Potter opens the dampers. Black soot leaves. In its place comes clean white heavenly fire. All is new. Ego no longer exists. It’s been burned away. Now there is clarity only given by the spirit. Fresh anointing is on all the vessels. Hot commission and a renewed purpose is evident. The Potter places the desired matte individually on each vessel. Now the individual callings are given as the hungry vessels call for the Potter’s will to be done in each of them. They’ve been appointed, tested and tried. They’ve faced separation and death, and now they’ve been resurrected.
The Potter looks at each vessel in the kiln and can see his reflection. He turns the oven off. â€œYou now reflect my image. I commission you now to serve. No, my clay, your ministry begins.â€
And so it goes, from clay marred by the Potter, to service for a king. That is what God called us to the potter’s house to see. When we go through times of dryness and perilous heat we must realize the Master Potter has a plan and our only call is to be yielded in his precious nail pierced hand. Clay that can’t be molded must be broken, shattered, ground to powder. He doesn’t throw it away, but the yielding process can be painful for the unyielding clay. He is merciful and longsuffering. He will continue to break you and make you over again until you become a vessel fit for use in his kingdom. Oh, that we might be molded, yielded under his touch. The most glorious thing a lump of clay could experience is the process of becoming a vessel meet for the master’s use. That is what we learn from a visit to the potter’s house.
Â is a member of Star of Bethlehem Apostolic church in Ilsley, Ky where Bro. Monty Fuller is the Pastor.