Monday, May 23, 2011

Lessons from the Potter's House

The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying: 2 "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you to hear My words." 3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. 5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the LORD. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!” Jeremiah 18:1-6

God often uses the commonplace to teach spiritual lessons.  Jesus, the Master Teacher, used parables for the same reason.  God did not send Jeremiah to the temple or a house of prophecy.  Instead he was led to the Potter's house for a very important lesson.  The making of pottery is among the oldest and unchanging crafts in the world and would seem an unlikely place to receive a revelation. 

Why go to this potter’s shop to learn?  Are there not other places where teachers and guides could speak lessons we need to hear?  Yet, it is in this unpretentious place Jeremiah observes a picture carrying a profound lesson.  It is in the simplest of places that the most insightful things of life are learned.  Profound thought may come from places where complexity of human rationale has not corrupted its purity.

Have Thine Own Way. Lord
It really doesn't matter what you do with us, Lord-just have your way with our lives...
This simple expression, prayed by an elderly woman at a prayer meeting one night, was the source of inspiration that prompted the writing of a popular consecration hymn, in 1902.  From that time to the present, it has been an influential hymn in aiding individuals to examine and submit their lives to the Lordship of Christ.

The author of this hymn text, Adelaide A. Pollard, was herself experiencing a "distress of soul" during this time.  It appears that it was a period in her life when she had been unsuccessful in raising funds to make a desired trip to Africa for missionary service.  In this state of discouragement, she attended a prayer meeting one night and was greatly impressed with the prayer of an elderly woman, who omitted the usual requests for blessings and things, and simply petitioned God for an understanding of His will in life.  Upon returning home that evening, Miss Pollard meditated further on the story of the potter, found in Jeremiah 18:3-4.

Before retiring that evening, Adelaide Pollard completed the writing of all four stanzas of this hymn as it is sung today. 
"Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay!
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still."

As we look into the potter’s house this week, may God help us better understand His claim on us and desire to mold us.

Scripture to Claim:
But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.  Isaiah 64:8

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