At New Life Church, we’re studying the book of Jeremiah together this summer. The central question of the book is whether or not a society can live with complete disregard for moral and spiritual truth and not suffer the consequences of wickedness? It was a question worth asking back in 600 B.C., and a question worth asking today.
This was the question that came to mind as Jeremiah watched a potter form a jar on a wheel: “But the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, so he made it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.“ (Jeremiah 18:4, HCSB)
God explained the image to Jeremiah: the potter, in that picture, is God. The clay was Israel (Jer. 18:5). As the nation spun on the wheel, being shaped by the skilled hands of the Potter, the nation had become flawed: sin, idolatry, immorality had warped them. Would God cast them aside? Would he become angry and kick over the potter’s wheel? No, God simply starts over.
This is good news for Judah and any nation that sits, spinning on the Potter’s wheel. God shapes and forms us. But sometimes we resist and the jar becomes flawed. God doesn’t discard us. If the nation will return to him, “turns from its evil” (Jeremiah 18:8, HCSB), the Potter simply starts over again.
He wants that for our country, and for you and me, too. Comparatively speaking, our nation hasn’t been on the Potter’s wheel that long (only 240 years). But our flaws are becoming more and more evident. There is still time to return to him and let the artist make something beautiful and useful of our nation again. It begins with repentance.