Scripture Focus: Jeremiah 18.6
6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
Reflection: Hope for Marred Pots
By John Tillman
Watching something you love self-destruct is wearying in a unique way. This is true whether what is self-destructing is a person, a nation, or a political group. It is for this reason that reading through the prophets can be an exercise in endurance.
If we begin to grow tired of accounts of the sins of Israel and Judah and the judgments coming their way, we are not alone. The other prophets and priests of Judah grew so sick of Jeremiah’s messages that they conspired against him.
Their opposition would grow from verbal attacks and ignoring Jeremiah to more insidious and violent forms. Their opposition would culminate in a plot to take his life.
They are not alone. Jeremiah grew weary of his own message. Jeremiah’s writings are filled with moments of grief and longing for his people to listen, to change, to repent.
Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet but he is not the only one weeping. Many of Jeremiah’s most mournful passages could be read with God as the one weeping rather than Jeremiah. The most likely interpretation is that it is often both, not one or the other. Jeremiah is a weeping prophet because he serves a weeping God.
God, understanding Jeremiah’s grief, sends him to a place he can see that there is hope for marred and broken things—the potter’s house..
God tells Jeremiah that it is Israel on the potter’s wheel. Marred, rebellious, stubborn, yet still the artisan keeps the clay in his hands, crushing, spinning, shaping, and reforming the pot.
There is hope for marred and broken things like us. Whether nations, peoples, groups, or individuals, we can be reshaped. We don’t have to remain a useless, malformed pot. If we will stay pliable and stay in the hands of our potter, we can be reshaped. We can become a fitting vessel for the good plans that God has for us.
May we stay humble.
May we stay pliable.
May we stay in the potter’s hands.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Happy are the people whose strength is in you; whose hearts are set on the pilgrim’s way. — Psalm 84.4
– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle
Jeremiah 18 (Listen – 3:40)
Mark 4 (Listen – 5:01)
Read more about The Two Ariels
“Judicial hardening” refers to the way God acts in response to our rejection of him and his messages.
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