Lucia's Blog: CLAY IN THE HANDS OF A MASTER POTTER
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Friday, January 16, 2015

CLAY IN THE HANDS OF A MASTER POTTER

"But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand."  
Isaiah 64:8


What can you do with a hardened heart? A hardened heart cost Pharaoh his kingdom in the days of Moses. A hardened heart kept many Jews from following their long-awaited Messiah. On the other hand, the disciples of Jesus were molded and shaped into powerful spokesmen for the Lord. He patiently shaped them as a potter might fashion a lump of clay into a vessel of beauty and usefulness. Let us consider the great things that God make of us when we are pliable in His hands.

Isn't it amazing that as true children of our God, we are not unchangeable or stuck forever with what we used to be: the disfigured and unrefined old man of sin?  It is our God who does the refining, the molding and shaping in us. This process of metamorphosis or transformation can only be accomplished through His everlasting Word because it can pierce our soul and spirit, judging the thoughts and intentions of our heart.  But we must turn to Him with our whole heart, listen to Him and obey Him.

Sadly, the world of darkness cannot grasp or understand how a man of sin can be transformed into a vessel of righteousness.   They do not realize that God can change, shape, refine and mold the heart of man.  Our God can change man into the likeness of Christ, in His image.  It is a fact that we cannot accomplish this change or transformation on our own without our Master Potter.  Our Potter can take us as a lump of clay, changing us into something beautiful and new for His glory.  It is His everlasting Word that is able to accomplish this in us if we allow that Word to work in our hearts.

Our Lord and Savior came to wash away our sins through His blood, shed on a cruel cross.  It is through His blood, when we obey the calling of His Gospel, that we become a new creation.  To be changed and renewed means that we do His will daily so that He may dwell in us and we in Him, walking hand in hand.  Are we willing to surrender our heart, all of our will, to Him in complete obedience, that He may change and renew us?  Let us open our hearts and listen to Him!
"The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests hearts."  Proverbs 17:3

God searches and sees deep into our hearts!  He knows us well!  There is nothing hidden from Him. He created us, and He also loves us.  He is able to guide us, teach us and mold us.  When we obeyed Him in the waters of baptism and were forgiven of our sins, we became His slaves, and He became the new Master of our hearts.  Sadly, when we let our old self continue in the old man of sin, the corrupt one, the power of the message of our Lord and Savior is taken away.  His sacrifice is in vain!  Since we have refused to take it into our hearts.  We forget that our Father in heaven did not send His Son, Jesus our Lord and Savior, so that we could remain the same old man corrupted by sin.  He sent our Savior to redeem us, to change us into His image, and to make us His own possession.  God will test and try our hearts!  He will smooth us out on His potter's wheel.
"And I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested.  They will call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.'"  Zechariah 13:9

Did you know that the melting point of pure silver is 1761 degrees Fahrenheit and the melting point of pure gold is 1945 degrees Fahrenheit?  God has told us that He will take us through the fire so that we may be refined like silver.  He does this in order to purify us like gold!  He, being the Creator of these precious metals, knows well that such metals must be heated to very high temperatures before they can be molded and shaped.  He also knows that the heart of man is stubborn and hard to change. Yet, as a loving Father, He desires to guide us through that fire so that we may be changed.  In like manner, the goldsmith or silversmith never leaves his crucible once it is on the fire.

 Even so God will never leave or forsake us while our hearts yearn to be refined and changed.  God does not offer us a bed of roses.  He requires a lot of dying to self and letting go of what we value or treasure here on earth.  Of course, the easiest path is to remain permanently the same and not be open to change; just "coasting" through life.  The tragedy is that in the end, the path that we have chosen will lead us to our death.  Why is it tragic?  Because we rejected the abundant living that God intended for us. Instead of living and walking as one who is wise, we chose to follow a life of complete foolishness of heart.  You see, the other and wiser path through God's refinement process would have led us to peace.  Let us learn to be wise and not foolish of heart!
"You made men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water, yet You brought us out into a place of abundance."  Psalm 66:12

After the clay is molded and worked on the potter's wheel, the final product is beautiful, usable and designed by the potter.  In the same way, God has promised us a place of rich fulfillment only after He has led us, guided us and changed us.  After all, it is God's riches that are worth fighting for and pursuing in this life.  They lead us to eternal life, to peace, the refinement and shaping that only our loving God could do.  In the end, it is that trial by fire that gives us richness and abundance.
"For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."  Mark 9:49:50

There is much said about the beginning of our walk with Christ:

  • that we are saved when we obey the Gospel of our Lord and Savior.
  • that our sins are washed away in the waters of baptism.
  • that we become new creatures of righteousness.
  • that we have the hope of eternal life;
  • that we have to work out our own salvation in order to receive our final reward which is heaven.  

Yes, these are all foundational truths that we learn, yet God in His revealed Word speaks often of His children being refined and tested.  Our faith must be tested by fire!  This is a vital part of our Christian life and walk. While God's grace is freely given to us, it does not give us any license or permission to keep on sinning.  It does not free us from complete and faithful obedience.  We have not come to know Jesus as our Lord and Master if we have not changed the old man of sin, the corruptible one, and are still stuck in our old fleshly ways of thinking, our old carnal habits, and our old sinful attitudes.

In like manner, if we have not been transformed into the likeness of Christ, and if our whole worldview and way of life has not been shaken and changed, we have not passed through the fire and allowed it to refine us into vessels of righteousness.  That means is we have allowed other insignificant, worthless and earthly things to take His place.  It is only when we accept Christ's sacrifice that we come to appreciate and accept what He did for us with humble and obedient hearts. It is only then that we willingly accept His Lordship and His divine rule.
"Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?"  Romans 2:4

Our Lord and Savior in His mercy looks for those souls that are humble enough to allow Him to shape and mold them into instruments of righteousness that they might reflect His praise and glory. He demands that we do His work also.  As clay in the hands of our Potter, our Father, we are totally pliable to our Creator's will, in subjection to his acts of creation, desiring to be the product of a great Creator.  It is a true fact that God can mold us into whatever instruments of service that He and the Body of Christ needs and requires.

My question is:  Are we willing to become that servant, be humble and meet the needs within the Body of Christ, as clay?  Are we willing to become that servant when our Lord needs zeal and enthusiasm?  Our Lord wants useful, holy vessels and He will make sure to find those who are willing and who humbly submit to Him, allowing Him to remove all the impurities of the soul.  It is not an easy task being the clay!  There is no glamor to it.  It is not something one would brag about, except for the fact that we are willing to be compliant, moldable, submissive pieces of clay.

"Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.'"  Jeremiah 18:6

We are all aware of Job's fiery trials and that he was put through the fire of such trials but remained faithful, trusting and hoping in God.  He humbly recognized and accepted that all of his trials had a purpose.  Job did not give up even when his own wife rejected him and his friends discouraged him. He did not give up even in the greatest weaknesses!  He knew well this furnace of affliction would be good for him.  He was aware that he was going to be refined as pure gold after he had been tested and tried by the fire.   We need to have Job's attitude of heart.  This is the only way to victory!

"But He knows the way I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold."  Job 23:10.  

Such powerful words Job speaks!


Like Job we all go through our valleys of trials, tears, sorrows and afflictions.  We must trust in God and the beautiful work our God is doing in us.  It is all for our good!  This is what our faithful and loving God has promised us.  We must believe in His promises!  He will never go against who He says He is.  It is not in God's divine nature.  God cannot lie.  All that He asks of us is that we be faithful to Him and serve Him.  He wants us to listen to Him, His Word so that He may change us and mold our stubborn and hard hearts into something pure and new.  Isn't that remarkable and amazing!  I have complete confidence that our God can change us if we humbly let Him.  With God, we can be assured that we are not helpless and hopeless.  With Him, there is always hope for renewing, refreshing, refining and change.  With Christ, there is always hope to be made anew and be brought back to life from the death penalty of sin.  What a wonderful, marvelous and all merciful Savior and Father we have!
"So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."  I Peter 1:7

The following is a beautiful Hymn, which pictures God as the Potter and us as the work of His hands, "Clay in the Potter's Hand" written by Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Williams.


"O Lord, you know my strength indeed is small,
Lest thou should lead I'm prone to slip and fall;
Guide and direct, o'er evil help me stand,
Make me as clay in the potter's hand."


The first stanza speaks of our weaknesses.  We sometimes faint in the day of adversity because our strength is small: Prov. 24:10.  As a result, we are prone to slip and fall, 2 Peter 3:17. Hence, we must diligently seek out the weaknesses in our hearts, so that our Lord might strengthen us against the wiles of Satan, Eph. 6:10-11

"Thou art the Potter, I am the clay,
Make of my life as pleases Thee each day;
Weave into beauty as You have it planned,
Make me as clay in the potter's hand."


The second stanza refers to God's plan for us to be refined, molded and shaped.  In Jeremiah 18:1-3, God is pictured as the Potter and man as the clay.  Our main goal should be to strive with a humble heart to live in harmony with His will, doing what pleases Him each day of our walk here on earth, I Thess. 4:1.  It is only in this WAY that we can fulfill what God has planned for us that our souls might prosper abundantly, Josh. 1:7.

"Father, we pray for power to be strong,
Let not our lives be marred by sin, and wrong;
Lead to Thy throne, by love take full command,
Make us as clay in the potter's hand."


The third stanza refers to our desire for God’s strength in our weaknesses.  It is vital that we pray for God to give us the power to be strong in Him, Eph. 3:16.  This strength will help us to keep our lives from being marred by sin and evil, Ps. 119:11.  It is only in living in this way that we will be enabled to meet God’s conditions so that He may lead us to His throne, Rev. 22:1-3.

"Mold me, make me, as You'd have me be,
Take me, use me, that the lost may see;
Guard me, guide me, thru this pilgrim land,
Make me as clay, in the potter's hand."


In the chorus, we are asking God to help us have the heart with the pliability or flexibility of clay in His hands.

In conclusion, let us submit to God's will and His plan for us.  Let us melt in His presence and allow Him to mold, shape and refine us into instruments of righteousness; into the pure Christians that He desires for us to be.  He wants us to be like clay in His Hands, in the Potter's hands. And let us not become "stiffnecked" which is the opposite of a heart that is submissive, pliable, moldable and shapeable like clay in the hands of a Master Potter.

May our Lord help us always to please Him while we walk our Christian journey so that we can have a home with Him in heaven one day.  May He help us to be "Clay in the Master Potter's Hand."


Luci