Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Monday, November 10, 2014


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.  -- Jeremiah 18:4

I suppose I have always read this as saying, more or less, “God is in control.”  And He is.  He’s the potter; we’re the clay.  He can do with us as He pleases.  Nevertheless, He allows us to decide how it is going to be:

If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.  And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. (Jeremiah 18:7-10)

This is repeated by other prophets, notably Ezekiel, but the thing here is that it occurs within a passage that has a flavor of predestination. 

Over the weekend, I was praying Psalm 32.  In verses 8 and 9, the Lord responds to David saying, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.  Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.

Yes, the Lord can beat a person like a rented mule to get their attention.  He can make our lives so miserable that we may feel that we have no choice except to obey.  He’d prefer not to.  He invites us to be close to Him.  He has made every provision possible for us to abide with Him, and He with us.  He knocks, and all we have to do is ask Him in.  The one thing that will prevent that is our own stubbornness. 

Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, knew what was coming to his people.  He pleaded over and over for them to hear and to repent.  They remained defiant.  They resisted the calling of the Lord to change, to repent, and to receive forgiveness.     
Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the Lord, behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’   But they say, ‘That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’” (Jeremiah 18:11-12)

We want to exalt the sovereignty of God.  We want to glory in His omnipotence and rejoice in the fact that He rules and reigns over all things, that He has a hand in even the most mundane aspects of our lives.  I understand the motivation and the thinking of those who minimize man and maximize God.  Man is nothing compared to God.  But the Lord makes us something.  That, too, is His glory, that He willingly and in love hands to men the keys of the kingdom.  He says, “What you bind on earth is bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth is loosed in heaven.”  (Matthew 16:19)  Here are the keys of history.  Here are the keys to the potent force on earth.  Here are the keys to life, and to death.  Take care how you choose. 


Anonymous said...

The narrow place that marries intention to probability really does become "I hope this will be different, this time".

That is probably just agreement on how stuff can change.

Valleys of dry bones be shaking with the promise.

I think the dead will be the first to sing about it.

mushroom said...

So it says, the dead in Christ shall rise first.

robinstarfish said...

Potent, yes.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

The choice is ours.
Do we choose to use the keys of God's Kingdom or do we choose to use the keys of our own destruction?