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The Potter...ric justiss

Jeremiah 18(KJV)
18 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 thee to
hear my words.
3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work
on the wheels.
4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter:
so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make
it.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD.
Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house
of Israel.

God, through leaders like Moses and Joshua, brought the children of Israel
out of the land of Egypt and had placed them into the Promised Land.  
When Joshua died, through a period of 400 years, God used judges in the
land.  Along with the judges there was always a prophet, and the prophet
would bring their attention back to the Lord, their leader.  After a period of
time the people said, we want a King like other nations have, and so the
people received unto themselves a King of their choosing.  They chose a
man who was head and shoulders above all the people.  His name was
Saul. He was not God’s choice be he was the people’s choice.  They
crowned him and made him King of Israel.  It was not long and the people
realized the Saul did not have the courage or the character that they
needed in a King, and that their choice had been a bad choice.  So God
anointed a teenager, a young lad, named David, to be the next King of
Israel.  Under the leadership of David, he united all the 12 tribes of Israel
unto one great nation, and ruled them.  He was the greatest King Israel
ever had.  David’s son Solomon built the temple for God.  And then David’s
son Solomon had a son, whose name was Reaboam, and under his
leadership, or lack of leadership of Reaboam, the nation of Israel divided.  
The 10 tribes to the north were known as Israel and had Samaria as its
capitol.  The 2 southern tribes became known as Judah, with Jerusalem as
their capitol.  And for a period of time, Israel was attacked by other nations
and tried to rule and reign under good and bad Kings, and the same was
true of the two southern tribes. The 10 northern tribes were destroyed by
the Assyrians and were scattered into the world.  Finally the Babylonians,
under the rule of King Nubuchanezer, came marching into Jerusalem to
destroy the last bit of Israel, known as Judah.  The Jews hid themselves
inside the city, but the walls were destroyed, the temple was utterly
destroyed, and Judah was taken into captivity of the Babylonians.  So
defeated were the people that only the young, healthy and strong were
taken into captivity.  With great defeat and humiliation, the once strong
nation was marched into captivity.  The very best that they had was taken.  
The very worst that they had was left behind.  Daniel and Ezekiel were the
prophets of the captivity.  They were the ones that went on and prophesied
to the captives during that period of time. Another prophet was left behind;
his name was Jeremiah, the weeping prophet.

What he saw was garbage, ruin and distress.  For you see, all that was left
was a broken down wall, a destroyed temple, with homes broken and in
disrepair.  The saddest of all was the people.  All that was left was what the
Babylonians did not want, the diseased, the troubled, the elderly and the
weak.  Jeremiah had little to do but to weep for the people. As he looked at
the condition of the city he wept.  As he looked at the temple, he wept.  As
he looked at the people themselves, he wept.

In Chapter 18, God said to Jeremiah, 2
Arise, and go down to the potter's
house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work
on the wheels.
4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter:
so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make
it.

Jeremiah went to a little house, and there he watched a potter, who had the
wheel turning, and the piece of clay and probably watched with
amazement, if you have ever seen a potter at work.  He watched as the
potter began to mold that piece of clay into the vessel that he wanted it to
be.  He was working on it, molding it, shaping it, when all of a sudden the
potter in dismay began to shut down and mash it all up into just a lump of
clay again.  It was marred and it looked like nothing again. And then he
would watch as the potter would put the water on it and all he had to do to
make it flexible again and the wheel would start.  He watched as he formed
and fashioned it until he made it like he wanted to make it.  Finally the
potter could say of his work, It is good.
God said to Jeremiah, verse 6,
O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as
this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so
are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

Jeremiah learned some valuable lessons and important lessons as he
watched the potter make the clay into what he wanted it to be.
In the first
place, he learned about the purpose of God.  You see, he learned as he
watched, that the potter had a purpose for the clay.  From the beginning, in
the mind of the potter, there was something the potter intended to make
out of the clay.  It could have been a vase, it could have been a bowl, a
plate, it could have been many things, but there was a purpose for that
clay, very distinct in the mind of the potter.  And even when the clay did not
do right, he didn’t throw it away but he started over, beginning to reshape
it, remold it, into something special.

And God said to Jeremiah, I have a purpose for Israel, even though as you
look at Jerusalem Jeremiah and see all the ruin, the tragedy of it all, I’m not
through with Israel.  I have a plan, a goal for my nation.

And may I say to you very carefully, if you are reading this and you are a
Christian and you love Christ, God has a purpose for your life.  And if you
are without Christ right now, God has a purpose for your life.  It is an
amazing thing as we watch people’s lives being molded, as people come
to knowledge of God, studying His word, learning about Christ,
incorporating the principles of Christianity into their everyday life (love and
concern, honesty, moral integrity, kindness).  God is molding and shaping
us into something special, something suited for heaven.  God has a
purpose for me and he has a purpose for you.  He has a purpose for your
life, and that is an exciting thing.

Sometimes even after we have become Christians, even after we have
realized as John did when he said,
I marvel that we are called the Sons of
God
, we realize the love of God for us and His purpose for us.  Sometimes
our lives become marred, and we don’t work as we ought with God and
make it almost impossible for Him to shape us as He desired, but God does
not take the clay and discard it and just throw it away.  No, he takes us and
begins to work with us to such an extent, that we would become all that he
would have us to be.  We come to understand, along with Jeremiah, that
God does have a purpose for us.

Secondly, we learn that God has to power to remake us.  I don’t know
about you, but sometimes I am amazed at the mess my life seems to get
into.  I feel like there is
no reason or rhyme or purpose to my life and then
all of a sudden it looks like a mess, and I ask Where am I and where am I
going?  And yet God has the power to make something of us, to push and
shape us, as we ought to be.  God told Jeremiah, that just as the potter is
able to reshape the clay, so does He God have to power to reshape and
rebuild Israel once again.  Jeremiah looked into the ruins of Jerusalem, but
God looked ahead to what he had planned for Israel.

In chapters 18 and 19, he tells that Israel was marred long before the walls
fell and long before the temple was destroyed and long before the people
were taken captive.  The marring of the clay was an internal problem.  God
said they worshipped other Gods and went astray, therefore He allowed
the Babylonians to come, he allowed it.  The vessel was marred and He
allowed it to crumble.  Now Israel is in captivity but God looked ahead to a
time when he would put the piece of clay back on the wheel and begin to
work it again, and re-establish his order and re-erect His temple, re-instate
His people, and re-establish the priesthood.  God looked ahead and He
saw the re-making of Israel.

And I say very carefully to you, that God has the power to re-make us too.  
God can re-make us. One of the things we fail to realize is that when we
become Christians, we are His. We belong to Him.  
Know ye not that your
body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is bought with a price,
wherefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s
. We
do not belong to ourselves, but we belong to God. And He has a plan for
us.

Unfortunately, we sometimes decide to go our own way and we make
decisions that result in a marred vessel.  Sometimes the Lord allows the
wheels to stop, the molding and shaping to stop and the vessel he was
working on looks a lump of clay again. And sometimes we come to this
place only that we might cry out, God make me again.  And the wheel
begins to turn again.  And God had the power to make us again, and make
us into all that He wants us to be.

And I want you to know and understand there is no case too difficult for
God.  I have seen it.  You have too. Someone is broken, completely, at the
bottom of the barrel, the bottom of humanity, only to be told of Jesus.  
They change, they become Christians, and completely turn their lives
around.  God put them on the wheel and began to fashion their life.  There
is no case so severe that God cannot remake that person into what they
ought to be.

Lastly, Jeremiah learned not only of the purpose of God, and the power of
God but he learned of the joy of God. Verse 4,
so he made it again another
vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

The potter was delighted to see his final product.  God had a plan to re-
make his nation.  God had the power to re-shape Israel and it brought Him
pleasure to do it.  And when you live your life and don’t submit to God, and
God has allowed it all to fall down and it looks like a clump of clay, God
wants to work in your life, start the wheel again, and form you and fashion
you to where he can say of you, It is good.

And let me say, you can only come to God as a sinner.  Jesus –
I am not
come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners
. The battle rages on
within us between the part that wants to do right and the part that wants to
do wrong.  But finally we come back home to God, that old man falls off,
the new man stands up to be counted.  We surrender in obedience to  God
and devote ourselves to living for and serving Christ, being a good
example of good in all we do, until God has shaped us into a creature
worthy of the glory of heaven. And he will call us home and say, as he did
in the beginning after beholding his creation,
It is Good.  

God loves us and takes great joy and privilege in fashioning us into all he
wants us to be and is delighted when he can say, It is good.
We should all
pray that our love for God be sufficient, that our eyes be opened, that the
Spirit will do its work and that our lives will be touched and that we will
become as He would have us to be.  We should pray for sufficient strength
that we might cast off the old sinful man and live our life worthy of the
name we bear, “Christian.” The time is now.