Scripture reading for August 8th: Jeremiah 16-20
“Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.” Jeremiah 18:5-6
An experienced potter would moisten the clay and work it to make it pliable. It was placed on the wheel and spun as he applied pressure with his fingers on the outside surface and then thrust them inside to form the vessel. Sometimes the clay was flawed and needed to be reworked and the potter would smash it down and start over again!
God sent Jeremiah down to the potter’s house and had him watch the potter working on his wheel. As the potter was working, his pot was flawed, and he formed it into another pot, as it suited him. (Jeremiah 18:1-2) God then spoke to Jeremiah about his people being like the clay in the hand of the potter. God was in charge of the clay and the shaping of the vessel that was formed! If the flaws that were in the clay were not eliminated by repentance, then the potter would have to reshape the pot!
After Jeremiah preached this message, the people plotted against him. (Jeremiah 18:18) They had viewed his message as evil when God had meant it for good! (Jeremiah 18:19-20) They plotted to kill the prophet and do away with him. Jeremiah was angry and asked God to not forgive them! (Jeremiah 18:23)
In response to all of this, God gave Jeremiah another object lesson. He was to buy a pot and take it to the valley of Ben Hinnom, near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. Ben Hinnom was the city garbage dump where there were fires burning all the time. It was a reminder of punishment for the wicked. Jeremiah was to tell the people about how they had resisted the hand of their Potter and angered Him. Then he was to smash the pot as an example of what would happen to them if they failed to respond. (Jeremiah 19:1-10) In the end, a useless vessel ends up in the valley of Ben Hinnom! God wants none to end up there!