Working with clay is far from easy. When I was in college, a friend of mine and I decided to go play with the pottery wheels one night. It was a disaster! We left with bits of clay all over our clothing and with no pottery to show for it! Jeremiah uses the analogy of a potter working with clay to describe how God works with His people. There are times when a piece of pottery is misshapen and needs to be reformed, and in such a case, the potter smashes down the clay and starts again until it becomes as desired. Israel was not taking on the correct form – the nation had become like the surrounding nations and had forsaken the Lord. So God decided it needed to be reshaped. In order to do this, the Israelites would later be taken into slavery by the Babylonians as a reminder that God was the source of their strength and of their blessing. Just as the nation of Israel was like clay in the hands of a potter, so are we today. If God finds that we're not turning out as desired, He will use circumstances to reshape us and to mold us into the people He wants us to be. If you're being remolded by God, don't be discouraged. It's out of His love for us and out of His desire that we might be made more and more like Christ, that He allows us to go through the challenges – that in the end, we will come out as a beautiful piece of pottery.
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Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.