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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THOU ART THE POTTER

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand.

The prophet, Isaiah spoke these words on behalf of a penitent Jewish nation - a nation that had witnessed the desolation of Jerusalem and the temple of worship. In seeking forgiveness for their iniquity, they requested that God take them and mold them into a good work once again, as they once were in the day of their forefathers. The particular analogy here is that if a potter making clay earthenware vessels. In this instance, the Jewish people are the raw clay and God is the potter. They, then, are requesting that God mold them into the people they should be. At which time they can say, we all are the work of Thy hand.

Jeremiah 18:1-6 is another moment in Jewish history in which the example of the potter is used. This prophecy of Jeremiah probably took place during the reign of Jehoiakim, not too long before the Jewish nation was taken intocaptivity by Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah was instructed to go to the potter's house. There he observed the potter molding a vessel of clay. In the process of making the vessel, it became marred, and was rejected by the potter, as not suitable for finishing. The potter then took the marred vessel, kneaded it into raw clay, and once again, placed it on the potter's wheel and molded the same piece of clay into another vessel of good quality earthenware. In verse 11, Jeremiah was then instructed to go to Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, telling them to repent of their sinful ways and turn back to obeyingGod's will. In verse 12 we see the response of Judah: ...we will walk after our own devices, and we will everyone do the imagination of his evil heart. Here, we can make the application of the potter analogy. God is about to destroy the vessel that has become marred (the unfaithful Jewish nation) and will remold it into another vessel (faithful children of Israel) that will seem good to God - the Potter. God did not like His creation and decided to destroy it and make another to His liking.

If God were to remold you and me into the person he wants us to be, what would our character or our attributes be? The list is inexhaustible, but here are a few. Take this list and see how many you can add to it. Some of the characteristics and attributes God would want us to have are:

Faith - But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6). We must believe that God is our Creator, our Sustainer while here on earth, and the Rewarder of eternal blessings for those that faithfully serve Him. Without this faith, we would not be apt to lead a life pleasing to Him. Our trust would be in ourselves and earthly rewards.

Sober, Righteous & Godly - For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us, that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world...(Titus 2:11-12). Through God's grace, His word, the Bible, has been preserved for all mankind. From His Holy Word we are taught those characteristics and attributes He desires in His people. From His word, He molds us just as the potter creates an earthen vessel. We are taught to deny all things contrary to God's will as well as the inordinate desire for worldly gain. How should we conduct our lives? Soberly - have an even temper, able to control our desires and appetites, have a humble mine set, have a moral demeanor. Righteously - being honest and sincere with our fellow man, fulfilling our duties and responsibilities without committing sin, living a life guided by the golden rule, and treating others as we want to be treated. Godly - accepting God's ways as our own, and obeying His will to the best of our abilities.

Love - The lawyer asked Jesus, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:36-40). If the characteristic of love for God and others is missing in your life, you can be sure all other godly characteristics will be incomplete. Why? It is because all other commandments, that we are to obey, are based on these two - the love of God and the love of our neighbor.

Thou art the potter, we are the clay. Mold us and make us, dear God, after Thy will.