The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: ‘Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.’ So, I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. Then the word of the LORD came to me: ‘Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the LORD. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so you are in my hand… (Jer. 18: 1-6)
When Jeremiah prophesied these words in today’s scripture, circumstances couldn’t have been more grim or dire. Jerusalem, God’s city, had been sacked. The Temple, God’s house, had just been destroyed. And now a remnant of God’s people was in exile in Babylon.
During this time of great grief and despair, Jeremiah was given a picture of hope to share. The potter was God. The clay was the people. The prophet starts right where the people are, and the words he used was “spoiled.” Indeed, that is how their lives must have felt—spoiled lives, spoiled hopes, spoiled dreams. But then the prophet moves them to a more hopeful reality—that God can remold, reshape, reform them, just like the potter did with the clay.
The words God gave to Jeremiah in 680 B.C. speak straight to where we are now. How do things look right now? If you have lost a love one, or your health, business or job, spoiled probably doesn’t begin to describe your current reality. And even for those who haven’t had a catastrophic loss, spoiled may only be the beginning of what things now feel like.
I have heard many people say that they can’t wait for things to return to normal. I wonder if normal is enough. Let me do more than wonder. Instead, let me proclaim that I believe God can use this time to remold, reshape, and reform us.
I intend the “us” here to refer to us individually and collectively. I don’t believe that we should be looking for a simple return to normal. If we came through this time and weren’t changed—changed both personally and corporately—then I believe we would be missing the hope that Jeremiah is proclaiming in today’s scripture.
- How do you believe God could be using this time to reshape you?
- How do you believe God could be using this time to reshape our community and country?
- What is the hope that you, the clay, need from God, the potter, right now?