Sunday Scriptures — God is the Potter

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Jeremiah was often called the Weeping Prophet, and with good reason, for the LORD called Jeremiah to preach warning and judgment to his people. He was persecuted by his own people for speaking God’s truth regarding their impending captivity and punishment, yet never wavered in his compassion for them, or his dedication to speaking the truth as God instructed him.

His warnings came with a promise. If the people turned from their wicked ways and returned to God, he would forgive, hold back his hand of judgment, restore, and bless.

But the people refused to repent of their sins, and God allowed Babylon to come in, capture the people, and carry them off to captivity in Babylon. Leaving behind a poor remnant. A remnant Jeremiah chose to stay with and minister to.

At one point before the captivity, the LORD told Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house. Here the prophet saw a potter at his wheel with a marred pot in his hands. The potter took that pot and reshaped it as it seemed best to him.

Then God gave Jeremiah his message asking, didn’t God have the right to do with his people what the potter did with the clay?

Of course he did. The Creator God of the Universe has the right to do whatever he wants to do. He is the Potter. We are the clay. He is the Creator. We are the created. He is God. We are not.

God is patient, wanting none to be lost. He wants people and nations to repent of their sins, turn back to him, and be blessed. But he is also a Righteous Judge who cannot be in the presence of sin.

It’s our choice.

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Then the Lord said to me,  “Don’t I have the right to do with you people of Israel what the potter did with the clay? You are in my hands just like clay in the potter’s hands. If at any time I say that I am going to uproot, break down, or destroy any nation or kingdom, but then that nation turns from its evil, I will not do what I said I would. On the other hand, if I say that I am going to plant or build up any nation or kingdom, but then that nation disobeys me and does evil, I will not do what I said I would. Jeremiah 18:5-10 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — When We Refuse to Listen to God

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

How often do we go to God in prayer asking him to approve the plan we have, instead of seeking the plan God has for us? When his plan deviates from our plan, we refuse to listen.

In the forty-second chapter of the book of Jeremiah a group of army men, led by Johanan, came to Jeremiah asking the prophet to pray to God that he would tell them where they should go, and what they should do.

These men recently engaged in a fight with Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and rescued Ishmael’s captives. But Ishmael and eight of his men escaped, and ran away to the Ammonites.

Fearing reprisal from the Babylonians, Johanan and his men decided to run away to Egypt. Before they reached Egypt, they asked Jeremiah to seek God’s will for them. That’s what they said, at least. It seems what they really wanted was God to approve their plan.

Jeremiah went to God on the men’s behalf and promised to tell them everything God said. And that’s exactly what the prophet did.

Only …

Jeremiah told Johanan God said if Johanan stayed in Judah he need not fear the Babylonians. God would protect them. But if he disobeyed and went to Egypt, it would not go well. There would be war, famine, and disease from which Johanan would not escape.

Given that choice you would think Johanan listened to what God told him, but Johanan refused to listen. Instead he accused Jeremiah of lying to make them stay and be killed by the Babylonians.

Johanan said he wanted God’s clear direction, but in truth he wanted God’s approval of the plan Johanan knew he was going to go ahead with no matter what Jeremiah said.

This takes me back to my original question. How often do we go to God in prayer asking him to approve the plan we have instead of seeking, and accepting, the plan God has for us?

Just as things did not go well with Johanan and his men when they refused to listen to God, it does not go well with us when we go to God in prayer with our plans all laid out and refuse to alter them when God gives us an answer we don’t particularly care for.

Instead of refusing to listen to God’s direction, don’t you think we should stop stubbornly insisting on our own way, and trust God knows what he’s doing?

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Johanan son of Kareah and the army officers, and the people along with them, wouldn’t listen to God’s Message that they stay in the land of Judah and live there. Jeremiah 43:4 (MSG)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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