“Behold like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.” Jeremiah 18:6
My daily Bible reading was halted recently as the above verse riveted my attention to this powerful imagery of God being like the potter. Having observed potters working with clay on a number of occasions, the most impressive thing is how the clay on on his wheel is totally subservient to the potter’s hands and only takes its unique shape as the potter wills and directs.
In our above text, God is telling Israel through Jeremiah that they are ‘like clay in the potter’s hand’ and that God is the potter who sovereignly shapes and directs their ways.
Paul used this same ‘potter’ analogy when speaking of God’s sovereignty over all things including the personal salvation of both Jews and Gentiles. (Rom 9)
Like the clay that is moulded by the potter’s hand, Paul says, “so then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but God who has mercy.” (Rom. 9:16). In other words God is sovereign even over our salvation.
This means that God (the potter) is not in any way dependent on the personal will of any person (the clay) to help Him make up his mind about them.
This begs the question: Do we have wills? Absolutely we do. But before we came to Christ through faith our human wills were so affected by Adam’s sin that they were totally bent away from God. They could/would never in that state, choose the salvation God provides in Christ.
So the divine ‘Potter’ begins His foreordained work. He begins through a variety of ways to mould us by regenerating our stubborn wills to exercise faith and repentance toward God through Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! Our Lord is sovereign.
I love how C. H. Spurgeon cuts to the chase on this: “It always seems inexplicable to me that those who claim free will so very boldly for man should not also allow some free will to God. Why should not Jesus Christ have the right to choose his own bride?