photo by: Shirley/Oklahoma/May 2008
Lumps in the Clay
originally written 7 Nov 10
posted 31 Dec 10
When the potter is working with clay,
sometimes he finds lumps that interfere with
the process of creating the clay into something useful.
He must pay extra attention to the lump…
squeezing and kneading it until it is made soft and pliable.
If the lump can’t be made pliable, then it must be removed.

As God molds us into His image…
sometimes He comes across areas of hardness in our hearts.
He will do whatever it takes to soften those areas.
This must be done so that we can be useful for His purpose.
The process is often painful…but beneficial in the end.
Whether we like it or not, He is the potter, we are the clay.
The good news is that He loves us…and He is trustworthy.
We can trust that He does have a purpose for us.

“The Lord says:
‘These people come near to me with their mouth 
   and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 
Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
Therefore once more I will astound these people with
wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish,
the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” 
Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, 
who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know?’ 
You turn things upside down,
as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! 
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘You did not make me’? 
Can the pot say to the potter, ‘You know nothing’?”
Isaiah 29:13-16

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, 
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. 
You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. 
But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. 
   How then can we be saved? 
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 
No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; 
for you have hidden your face from us and have given us over to our sins.
Yet you, LORD, are our Father. 
   We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. 
Do not be angry beyond measure, LORD; do not remember our sins forever. 
Oh, look on us, we pray, for we are all your people.”
Isaiah 64:4-9

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:  
‘Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 
So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 
But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands;
so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Then the word of the LORD came to me.
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.
If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted,
torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil,
then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.
And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up
and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me,
then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.’”
Jeremiah 18:1-10

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 
For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, 
   and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’
It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort,
but on God’s mercy. 
For Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose,
that I might display my power in you and
that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”
Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy,
and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
One of you will say to me:
“Then why does God still blame us?
For who is able to resist his will?”
But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? 
“Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
‘Why did you make me like this?’”
Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay
some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—
prepared for destruction?
What if he did this to make the riches of his glory
known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—even us, whom he also called,
not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 
As he says in Hosea:
“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people; 
   and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,”
and, “In the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ 
   there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”
Romans 9:14-25

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