S (Scripture): Jeremiah 18
1 Jeremiah received the Lord’s word: 2 Go down to the potter’s house, and I’ll give you instructions about what to do there. 3 So I went down to the potter’s house; he was working on the potter’s wheel. 4 But the piece he was making was flawed while still in his hands, so the potter started on another, as seemed best to him. 5 Then the Lord’s word came to me: 6 House of Israel, can’t I deal with you like this potter, declares the Lord? Like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in mine, house of Israel! 7 At any time I may announce that I will dig up, pull down, and destroy a nation or kingdom; 8 but if that nation I warned turns from its evil, then I’ll relent and not carry out the harm I intended for it. 9 At the same time, I may announce that I will build and plant a nation or kingdom; 10 but if that nation displeases and disobeys me, then I’ll relent and not carry out the good I intended for it.
O (Observation): God’s metaphor for Israel is that God is the potter and God’s people of Israel are the clay. God wishes to mold and shape the people that God wants these followers to become. Sometimes, when the potter works the clay, the clay becomes fractured or flawed. So, the potter re-works the clay and re-shapes it.
God sees that the people of Israel are like so much flawed clay. Now, God seeks to re-shape the clay. To be re-shaped, God’s people would need to ask to be forgiven. Should they repent…they would become malleable. Upon repentance, God’s people see that they will not receive harm.
A (Application): Repentance is not something we embody very well in this nation, or even as The Church. This is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and we lift up our brother, Martin Luther, as a saint. Yet, in today’s world, I disagree much with what Luther had to say against Muslims and Jews. I renounce those teachings and yet still revere and honor such a brave witness to the Gospel.
I think Luther’s the perfect example of what it means to be clay that is willing to be reworked. He was a bold, brave, and sometimes stubborn person. Yet, when he was convinced that he was in the wrong, he would repent. (Though in his final years he spoke out too strongly, in my opinion, on the topics I already mentioned.)
We can all use a little repentance in our lives. Myself included. I confess of my shortcomings on a weekly basis. This is part of my Lutheran heritage: confess and receive forgiveness, eat of the wine and bread of forgiveness…weekly.
As we repent…we become that clay willing to be re-worked, re-shaped. Molded to a fitting purpose. Less of my will…more of God’s will. I hope. I pray.
P (Prayer): Lord, not my will be done, but yours! Amen.