Jeremiah had heard or read old Isaiah's words about being clay in the hand of our Maker, and was moved to visit a pottery shop himself, to see what old Isaiah was talking about, to allow God's voice to open this Scripture for his heart. Israel hadn't had their ears open. They had fallen to the Assyrians while Isaiah yet preached. Not everyone listening to the preacher buys the sermon, I guess. Jeremiah 17:7-8
Amos (think hayseed farm boy turned evangelist) preached his heart out. He told in one sermon how God showed him visions of grasshoppers, fire, and a plumbline. He warned that God had a sword in hand. The altar call was interrupted when the local priest tried to run him out of town, saying that the Land was not able to bear Amos' words. Amos 7:10 His expulsion order was common, "Don't preach that in my chrch, go preach somewhere else!" Amos 7:12-13 Things can get ugly when the Hose of God becomes "the King's Chapel." But, don't think Amos' words returned void. I'm telling the sequence of events in reverse order.
Somewhere along the line, Isaiah must have been listening to Amos' message, or heard about Amos' predictions. Amos was about 30 years older than Isaiah. You see, there exists a thread of the Word weaving from one generation to the next, down through time. This thread won't be broken before God's return. Back to Jeremiah's fieldtrip to the potter's house. I said the experience can be painful for God's children. Just as I told the story in reverse, because each message had its causal event; so you and I have our source. Our words are not a new thing either. We came from God. We can not look at those who've gone before and take them to task for the job that they have done. On the contrary, they will take us to task for how we passed on their message.
In the same manner, we can not task God over the whys and wherefores of circumstances that He has ordained for us. Are we not in His hands to do as He wills? He will take us to task for the outcome. If you find your life smashed and broken, and none of the pieces seem to "fit right" any more, maybe God doesn't want those pieces in your life anymore. Maybe He has broken you on His wheel, to reshape your life.
When I was taking clerk typist classes in Brunswick, I sometimes went to the pottery workshop in the evenings. There I made dozens of these little figures for no purpose at all. I was living in a harsh environment, shocked at the people and circmstances I found myself in, only 17 and 18 years old, fresh out of high School, and far from home for the first time in my life. But, I liked the pottery workshop, along with some of the trips I took while I lived there, like Marineland. But, while painting the little figurines I made, I often thought about Jeremiah and his parable of the Potter's House.
I later gave the figures to different family members, and over the years I forgot about them. But, now I see them sitting around their houses when I visit. It reminds me that God uses my circmstances to build me. Nothing happens by accident, but all is a part of His greater plan. He makes me what I am, and hears me when I pray... as the old song from School says...
He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be.
It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars,
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How loving and patient He must be, He's still working on me.
1. There really ought to be a sign upon my heart,
Don't judge her yet, there's an unfinished part.
But I'll be perfect just according to His plan
Fashioned by the Master's loving hands.
2. In the mirror of His Word reflections that I see
Make me wonder why He never gave up on me.
He loves me as I am and helps me when I pray
Remember He's the Potter, I'm the clay.
Jeremiah's words weren't forgotten. About 600 years later, the Apostle Paul took up Jeremiah's thread and told about God's work...making vessels of honor out of the clay.
Romans 9:21-23 Has not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to
make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? What if God, willing to
show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the
vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches
of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had before prepared unto glory,
And, those are words I remember well from 30 years ago. Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and later Paul; they all chose to allow God to break them on the wheel repeatedly. They became vessels of honor, and we do hold them in high regard for the message that they carried. But, they were only jars of clay in the hand of the Lord. The work of God didn't feel good while they were going through it all. Jeremiah, in a moment of disallusioned tears, after spending the night in stocks, said:
Jeremiah 20:9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any
more in his name. But his word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my
bones, and I was weary from holding it back, and I could not.
I guess all of us find it hard to keep or mouths shut sometimes, despite our inner hesitancy to speak.