Tuesday, April 29, 2008


THE POTTER'S HOUSE Jeremiah 18 and 19.


Jeremiah 18:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:

2 "Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will let you hear my words."

3 So I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel.

4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

5 Then the word of the LORD came to me:

6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

7 If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it,

8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.

9 And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it,

10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.

11 Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: 'Thus says the LORD, behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.'

12 "But they say, 'That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.'

Jeremiah 19:1 Thus says the LORD, "Go, buy a potter's earthenware flask, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the elders of the priests,

2 and go out to the Valley of the Son of Hinnom at the entry of the Potsherd Gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you.

3 You shall say, 'Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle.

4 Because the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; and because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents,

5 and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind--

6 therefore, behold, days are coming, declares the LORD, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.

7 And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will cause their people to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. I will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the earth.

8 And I will make this city a horror, a thing to be hissed at. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its wounds.

9 And I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his neighbor in the siege and in the distress, with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.'

10 "Then you shall break the flask in the sight of the men who go with you,

11 and shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter's vessel, so that it can never be mended. Men shall bury in Topheth because there will be no place else to bury.

12 Thus will I do to this place, declares the LORD, and to its inhabitants, making this city like Topheth.

Do you ever feel hopeless? Totally sinful and absolutely useless to God?

Do you ever struggle with a besetting sin? Perhaps its anger, or some thing that trips you up and keeps you from being all that you would be for the Lord?

Do you struggle with deep sin?

Do you want to break with this sin? Do you want to have done with it?

Then Jeremiah has a message for you.

1. Jeremiah saw a Picture of The Divine Potter. Have you Considered the Potter?

Psa 135:6 The Lord does whatever He pleases in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all the depths He made us and He ahs the right to order our lives as He chooses.

Say “YES!” to the Potter’s Authority

And why should it be easy to say “YES” to the Potter?

The Potter knows the origin of the clay.

We are in God’s universe.

Psalm 100: 3Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are His

The Potter knows the nature of the clay Psalm 139:1 Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. 3 You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways.

13 For it was You who created my inward parts;You knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.Your works are wonderful, and I know [this]very well. 15 My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Psa 139:16 Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all [my]days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.

The Potter knows what is the best use for the clay

Isa 29:16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

The Potter knows how to properly handle the clay

Isa 45:9 "Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' or 'Your work has no handles'?

Say “YES!” to the Potter’s Ability

His ability is creative- Divine Potter has ability to make something out of nothing.

Isa 46:9 I am God, and there is no other; [I am] God, and no one is like Me. 10 I declare the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying: My plan will take place, and I will do all My will.

His ability is reconstructive- There is no vessel so damaged or marred but what it can be redeemed

We pride ourselves on our independence as an individual.

All thoughts of rights is about individualism

I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul.

We see people try and usurp power.

Joseph Stalin… denounced as a man who exercised power and killed a whole cadre (his officers) because he feared their ambitions.

We need to retune the way our minds think of who we are and where we are going.

We all like to think we are in control of our lives. We dream of what we would like to be like.

We are like the clay not willing to go in the direction that the Potter is shaping the clay.

His plan is to draw us from our self will to Him.

It only feels like we are in control of our lives when things are going well.

And when things go wrong we get upset because we suddenly realize its all out of our control.

Tripp says one of the features of midlife is that things have not worked out according to our plan for our lives. Hence mid life crises. Things are not in the script we wrote for ourselves. We never planned to get sick. Depression was never part of the script. Failure professionally was not there either. Midlife crisis happens when we are not happy with the story we are writing.

We want to write the script, but it isn’t the way we want. Like the author watching a film of the book altered by the Director.

It applies to any stage of life we are in.

Although we may plan our ways God is sovereign and we need to submit to Him.

A man may plan his course but God directs it however he wishes.

That God has both an incontestable authority and an irresistible ability to form and fashion kingdoms and nations as he pleases, so as to serve his own purposes: “Cannot I do with you as this potter, saith the Lord? Matthew Henry

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art the potter, I am the clay!

Make me and mould me after Thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.

I recently rode in Bethany’s car as it was being towed by our neighbour to be repaired. When we arrived at the repair shop, Warren said, "I didn't think we were going to get started out on the street… it didn’t seem to want to move! " I replied, "I forgot to take it out of gear.”

2. He Saw A Picture Of A Divine Purpose. Have you considered the Wheel?

Five facts we should remember concerning God’s purposes:

His purposes can be fulfilled only as we stay on the wheel.

How does God carry out His process? The WHEEL. I'm the CLAY. God's the POTTER doing the work on the wheel, which is how the process is going to be carried out. And I'm on this wheel. How many of you, in the last seven days thought, "This is my circumstance, what I'm going through, my troubles, my tribulations, my everything." How many of you thought, "This is part of my wheel. Thank God." This is how God's shaping me. Everything that's going on in my life--God enters into all things to work His good.

You who are revolving on the wheel and you look like a woman that's fighting, "Get me off of here! Mine is supposed to be the genteel wheel!" You know, the smooth kind. Right?

How many times have I dropped my guard in the flesh and thought, "My life is spinning out of control"? He's got it under control. He's got this whole picture, just like He's got the whole world in His hands. "

God is the greatest artist. He can make something that is a throw-away reject into something as beautiful as anything you've ever seen.

Keep totally surrendered to the Potter

His purposes may not always be suddenly known. The potter doesn’t make instant vessels.

(Psa. 25:4-5;) 4 Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. 5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.

His purposes may not be the same for every individual. In every house there are various kinds of vessels- not all are the same.

(II Tim. 2:20) 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

20 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver bowls, but also those of wood and earthenware, some for special use, some for ordinary. 21 So if anyone purifies himself from these things, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

His purposes always support our best interests. We can trust the Potter with our lives.

His purpose is to make vessels that are useful.

21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

3. He Saw A Picture Of A Divine Persistence Have You Considered The Pot?

6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.

There is a disappointed Potter He is considering the vessel Genesis 16: Thou God seest me:

This is a determined Potter. He is Close to the vessel

Here is a dynamic Potter. His hands are on the vessel

The Potter fashioned the cup With whirling wheel and hand;

Hour by hour he built it up To the form that his thought had planned.

‘Twas broken and broken again, Marred by a flaw, a crack, a stain,

Marred, so he made it again and again; Shaped it with joy and labor and pain. Annie Johnson Flint

4. He Saw A Picture Of A Divine Punishment. Have You Considered Your Part?

“Then you are to shatter the jug in the presence of the people traveling with you,

Thus said the Lord, "Go, buy a potter's earthen flask, and take some of the elders of the people and some of the senior priests, and go out to the valley of the son of Hinnom at the entry of the Potsherd Gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you." {Jer 19:1-2 RSV}

Back to the potter's house he went, this time not to watch the formation of a vessel in the hands of the potter, but to buy a potter's flask, a vessel already fired in the kiln, hardened, brittle. He was to take it outside the gates of the southern part of Jerusalem to the valley of Hinnom, which is called, in the New Testament, the valley of Gehenna. This was the garbage dump of Jerusalem, the place they threw all the refuse from the streets of the city. All the bodies of dogs and cats and other animals that died in the streets were left there to rot. It was the place where bodies of criminals were thrown after execution, to rot in the sun and be food for vultures -- an evil, stinking place. There Jeremiah was to take the elders of the people and some of the senior priests and say these words to them. He was to tell them that D-Day is coming! (verses 3-9)

“Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.” (verse 3)

He must take of the elders and chief men, both in church and state, to be his auditors and witnesses to what he said - He must give general notice of a general ruin now shortly coming upon Judah and Jerusalem He must plainly tell them what their sins were for which God had this controversy with them He must endeavour to affect them with the greatness of the desolation that was coming upon them He must assure them that all their attempts to prevent and avoid this ruin, so long as they continued impenitent, would be fruitless and vain

the cause – terrible sin (verses 4-6) the consequence – terrible suffering (verses 7-9)

“Then break the jar while those who go with you are watching,” (verse 10) devastating destruction “and say to them, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter’s jar is smashed and cannot be repaired.” (verse 11)

There are two parables from the potter’s house:

1. The shaped pot – the possibility of change 2. The smashed pot –the certainty of judgement

“So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts …See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:7, 12-14; Psalm 95: 7-8)

I take God the Father to be my God; I take God the Son to be my Savior;

I take the Holy Ghost to be my Sanctifier; I take the Word of God to be my rule;

I take the people of God to be my people; And I do hereby dedicate and yield my whole self to the Lord; And I do this deliberately, freely, and for ever. Amen. (Act of commitment taught to Matthew Henry by his father.)

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