the potter’s gospel
Jeremiah 18:1-17 (JDV)
Jeremiah 18:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahveh – this is what it said:
Jeremiah 18:2 “Get up and go down at once to the potter’s house; there I will let you hear my words.”
Jeremiah 18:3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, working away at the two stones.
Jeremiah 18:4 But whenever the jar that he was making from the clay became flawed in the potter’s hand, he would turn and remake it into another jar, as it seemed right for him to do.
Jeremiah 18:5 The word of Yahveh came to me:
Jeremiah 18:6 “House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay?” – this is what Yahveh declares. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.
Jeremiah 18:7 At one moment I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will uproot, break up, and destroy it.
Jeremiah 18:8 However, if that nation about which I have made the announcement turns from its wickedness, I will relent concerning the disaster I had planned to do to it.
Jeremiah 18:9 At another time I might announce concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it.
Jeremiah 18:10 However, if it does what is evil in my eyes by not listening to me, I will relent concerning the good I had said I would do to it.
Jeremiah 18:11 So now, say to the men of Judah and to the residents of Jerusalem, ‘This is what Yahveh says: Notice, I am about to bring evil to you and make plans against you. Turn now, each from your evil way, and correct your ways and your deeds.’
Jeremiah 18:12 But they will say, ‘That’s useless. We will continue to follow our plans, and each of us will continue to act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.'”
Jeremiah 18:13 Therefore, this is what Yahveh says: Ask among the nations, who has heard things like these? Virgin Israel has done a most horrible thing.
Jeremiah 18:14 Does the snow of Lebanon ever leave the highland crags? Or does cold water flowing from a distance ever fail?
Jeremiah 18:15 Yet my people have forgotten me. They burn incense to worthless idols that make them stumble in their ways on the roads of long ago, and make them walk on new paths, not the highway.
Jeremiah 18:16 They have made their land a horror, a permanent object of mockery; all who pass by it will be appalled and shake their heads.
Jeremiah 18:17 I will scatter them before the enemy like the east wind. I will show them my back and not my face on the day of their disaster.
the potter’s gospel
Jeremiah’s trip to the potter’s workshop reminded him of the theological truth he was so aware of: God is sovereign. Jeremiah’s people had forgotten that. They assumed that they could not change who they were, so whatever was going to happen was going to happen, and there was nothing they could do about it.
The sad thing is, the potter’s workshop is good news. The sovereignty of God is not something we should be ashamed of, or reject as if it is bad theology. The fact that God is in control means that I can change. I can repent and he can remake me into a worthy vessel.
But the inhabitants of Jerusalem refused to listen to that message. The disaster the Lord predicted came upon them, and destruction was the only future they had. God had offered them another chance, and they refused to repent.
Lord, thank you for the good news that we can change if we only let you do the changing.
Books by Jefferson Vann