Sunday 5th August – 10:45am Worship
Sermon Series: Images of God
Title: God the Potter
Bible Reading: Jeremiah 18:1-6
Preacher: Rev Phil Swain
Last week we started a sermon series looking at a number of Biblical Images of God. Last time explained that sometimes when describing something which is hard to describe we end up saying what it is like (eg John describing heaven … the gates are like pearls and the road is like gold). God is so holy and awesome and beyond our understanding that there is no way we can definitely describe who God is … but the bible uses some images or everyday pictures to describe a part of God’s character or nature. Last week we looked at how God is like a rock – strong and secure, a place where we can find stability and safety.
Today’s reading is a story about how God spoke to the prophet Jeremiah and gave him a picture of what God was like … that God is like a potter.
[Show example of the pot I made … not very good]
Have you ever seen a potter on a potter’s wheel? Tell story of Maureen in church … I got to have a go at it … mucked it up … it is not as easy as it looks. Maureen sat down, took the clay which I mucked up and started to reshape it, work it, craft it, and before long it was this amazing beautiful pot with decorations and everything.
That is what God says he can do with us.
God created us perfectly but in his desire for us to not be robots, to have a free will, he gave us the choice of either shaping our own lives or letting him as the master potter shape our lives for us. Unfortunately as far back as the first two people – Adam and Eve – people have been deciding to do it our own way. We think that we can do a better job than God.
Do you know how crazy this sounds? Another prophet in the bible, Isaiah, said, “How can clay tell the potter what to do? Can the pot say of the potter, “He knows nothing”?
It sounds crazy … and yet that is what people say to God. They think that God does not know what is best and that they can do better. But in the end we realise that our way just doesn’t work. When we try to do things our own way, our lives end up like my pot … all wonky.
So what does God do? Does he say, “I told you so?” Does he just shake his head and say, “You made your own bed, now you have to sleep in it?”
No. Our God is a forgiving and gracious God. And just like the potter in our bible reading, God will come to us and if we let him, he will restart the shaping process. Any dirt or junk that we have in our clay he will clean out. Any faults or crack that we have he will smooth. He won’t worry about the odd shape because once we are back in the hands of the potter, God will start that process of reshaping.
Actually our bible reading goes a step further … he says that the potter will shape us in the way that seems best to him. God the potter is not just fixing us up, he is shaping us into the best possible shape we can be.
The apostle Paul writing in the New Testament picks up in this image too … but he takes it a step further. Paul writes that not only is God shaping us and moulding us, but he shaping us to be like a perfect design. It is like God has got a perfect pot on the table which he is shaping us to be like?
Do you know who that perfect example of the pot is? Jesus.
Paul writes in Galatians that we are being formed into the image of Jesus. Jesus showed us how to live life in a way which was connected with God and connected with others. In a way which honoured God and showed love to all people. And Paul says that God, the master potter, is shaping us to be like Jesus.
So I guess the challenge for us is – are we putting our lives into the hands of God the potter? I want us all to hear the words of God spoken by the prophet Jeremiah … God says
“I can do with you just as this potter does, The clay is in the potter’s hand. And you”, God says, “you are in my hand”We are in God’s hand. May we all be open to God continuing to shape us and mould us to be more like Jesus.