Hope for Broken Vessels

“O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” Jeremiah 18:6

Have you made a mess of your life? Do you wish you could have another chance or start over again? If that's the way you feel, I have good news for you: God wants to make your life over anew, and He can do it today if you'll let Him. He sent His prophet Jeremiah to teach this lesson to Israel. Jeremiah 18:1-2 says, “The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear My words.”

Pottery is one of the oldest arts in the world, and it remains virtually unchanged to this present time. The potter would take a lump of clay and twist it, knead it, and pound it until all of the bubbles and impurities were out of it and it was soft and pliable. Then, he would put the clay on his wheel which was turned by a treadle. The potter would throw the lump of clay right in the middle of that wheel, and the wheel would spin. Then, the potter would caress the clay with his talented fingers and smooth it. And from that unlovely, unlikely lump of clay, there would come a marvelously beautiful vessel.

Verse six tells us very clearly that God is the Potter, and mankind is the clay: “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in Mine hand, O house of Israel” God is the master Workman, and He wants to make something beautiful out of your life.

A Vessel Made

There are two things that form the vessel: the touch of the Father's hand and the turning of the wheel. The wheel represents the circumstances of our daily lives. God sees to it that our lives revolve around certain events, and the whole time God is touching our lives and making them what He wants them to be.

A Vessel Marred

But Jeremiah 18:4 says the vessel was marred in the hand of the potter. I'll guarantee you the problem was not in the Potter but in the clay.

As with clay, there are two things that can keep your life from being what it ought to be: The clay might contain a hidden impurity — a flaw beneath the surface. Down deep there's some secret sin that nobody knows. Or, perhaps the clay is just not pliable enough. Maybe it's stiff and unyielding. The Lord tells you to witness, but you won't. He tells you to give, but you don't. You need to forgive, but you can't.

A Vessel Mended

I've got great news! There is still hope for you. Verse four says, “… he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” It was still in the hands of the Potter. God could still make this vessel again because the clay was still soft enough.

God can take you right now where you are and make out of your life another vessel. God can mend a broken life if you give Him all the pieces. Just turn it over to Him and say, “Here it is, Lord.” God wants to give you a second chance.

A Vessel Mutilated

But with this message of hope comes a warning. In Jeremiah 19 God told Jeremiah to get a vessel from the potter. And verse ten says, “Then shalt thou break the bottle in the sight of the men that go with thee.” God said, “Do you see this clay vessel? Watch it as it is smashed to smithereens, unable to be fixed.”

God is saying that people can go on in their sins until the clay is set and hardened. God is the God of a second chance, but there comes a time when a life is so hardened by sin that God gives that individual up. You'll cross God's deadline, and like a vessel, you cannot be put together again.

But that's not God's plan or desire. He yearns for the soft clay of our hearts to mold them and make them beautiful and useful. Yield to His touch.