NOTE: Today's blog is a "tag-team" effort. Some of the contents come from a sermon written by my son, Russell, and some comes from me. So begins the Father-Son-Tag-Team.
In the neighborhood vacant lot, the kids have gathered for a game of kickball. Teams are chosen and the game begins. Everyone is having a great time until....there is controversy. It's a contested play at home plate. The scoring team says "safe," while the outfield team says, "out." There is some discussion, which turned into an argument, which was on the verge of turning into something worse. A voice from the disagreeing teams called for a "do-over." Maybe you remember such sandlot jurisprudence from your younger days.
God's prophet, Jeremiah has some things to say about do-over's. In Jeremiah 18, God asks the prophet to go down to the potter's shop and God would speak to him there. Jeremiah did as God asked and when he got to the potter's shop, he saw the potter working at his wheel, but the jar he was making was not turning out right. The potter crushed the wet clay into a lump and started over. That's when Jeremiah understood the object lesson and God's message came to him. Look at verse 6: "O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand."
During this time when God's people were being rebellious and disobedient, they really needed a do-over. God even warned them, "I am planning disaster for you instead of good. So turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right." Verse 12 gives the people's reply, "Don't waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires."
After that, these stubborn people turned on the prophet! When you don't like the message, the first thing to do is attack the messenger. Jeremiah was under attack as they made their plans to kill him.
The contents of this story create for us, a glimpse of ourselves when we live our lives in rejection to God and his ways. Just like Israel, God longs for us to become like the moldable clay in the hands of the potter. That's why God laments, "O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay?"
Instead of listening to God's plan of a do-over, these wicked people rejected God's plea, and the scripture calls them hopeless. It's not a hopelessness in the sense of having nowhere to turn. They were hopeless because they had deliberately chosen to reject God.
Where are we? Can we see the marvelous love from God, Our Father, when he gives us another chance by reshaping and molding us into a vessel fit for his service? Who, or what, are you allowing to shape your life?
Folks, our very lives are the handiwork of the potter. You are the Master Potter's Masterpiece. Eternal life is within you. God longs for all of us to live by His Spirit, freely given to all. It's the reason we sing, "Make me new, Lord Jesus, make me new. For it seems that in so many ways I'm not enough like you. Take this weary vessel I am in and mold me once again. Take my life, take my spirit, make me new"
<firstname.lastname@example.org> (and thanks to RussellB)