The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 01/15

Posted on | January 15, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 01/15

Scripture reading: Jeremiah 18:1–17

Show and Tell

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” (Jeremiah 18:1)


When I was in elementary school I loved “Show and Tell.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was not simply a gimmick of teachers to entertain kids and keep them occupied. “Show and Tell” is a pedagogical method that uses both eyes and ears to enhance the learning process.

No one understands this better than God! In Jeremiah 18, God gave Israel one of the most powerful sermons in the entire Bible with an unforgettable “Show and Tell” experience. The message, simple enough for a child to understand yet profound enough to keep theologians busy plumbing its depths for centuries, penetrated both mind and heart.

God commanded Jeremiah to go down to the potter’s house and just look and listen. So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do (vv. 3–5). End of sermon! It’s time now for the closing song and the benediction. Church is over. Did you get the  message?

In case you missed it, God added a verbal question to the object lesson so we wouldn’t miss the point. Oh house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand (v. 6). There were more words after this, delving into the mystery of how  divine sovereignty  and human responsibility interact, but most people glaze over and lose focus in that part of the chapter. The essential sermon ended at verse six and can be outlined in three profoundly simple points that are simply profound.


  1. The Potter has a Purpose. The potter has a plan for that lump of He has a mental concept even before he begins. And what he is making has both a specific function and a unique design. He is an artist as well as a technician. In a similar manner God has a plan for every human being even before they are born. Each one is unique in beauty and purpose. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).
  2. The Potter has a Problem. We don’t know the nature of the flaw in the clay; we just know that it wasn’t shaping up to be what the potter had hoped. So he scooped up the clay and threw it back onto the wheel so he could start again. The clay didn’t resist or complain, asking, “Why are you making me like this?” (cf. Romans 9:20). No, the clay was pliable in the hands of the potter, letting him do as he deemed best.
  3. The Potter has a Perplexing Question. The climax of the sermon is a divine question to those who had been watching the object lesson: Can’t I do with you as this potter has done? (v. 6). Shouldn’t God know the answer to a question like this? Can’t he just shape clay into any shape he wants? Isn’t he sovereign? But this human clay has a mind of its own!

God has a plan for your life. You are his workmanship. Is the vessel he is making flawed? Are you pliable in his hands or are you resisting his work? Have you per- haps crawled off the wheel? God has a question for you today. Can’t he do with you what the potter did with the clay? Only you know the answer to that question!




Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!

Thou art the Potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after thy will,

While I am waiting, yielded and still.—Adelaide A. Pollard





point to ponder Can the purposes of God for the clay be thwarted?


prayer focus To not unknowingly thwart God’s plans for you!


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