The Potter's Final Offer
Gracious Father, I am praising and thanking, watching and waiting, longing and listening, for You, You alone.
Consider: "You need to open your hearts in faith. The hands of the great Potter are for you now. They are such eager, skillful, loving hands, those pierced hands of the divine Craftsman...working all our blunderings and defeats into the final symmetry of his complete and perfect will" (James S. Stewart, 1896-1990). What a wonderful promise!
The hearts of God's people were stubborn and evil (12), and God piled message after message, metaphor after metaphor to make them realize their condition and return to God. This time he compares himself to a potter in whose hands Judah was clay (6). The potter has absolute control over the clay; he can shape it or throw it away. Judah is a marred pot in his hands. Yet, God offers to remake Judah, if only Judah would cooperate and repent. If not, terrible disaster awaited.
Like a grieving father, God complains about Judah's inexcusable disloyalty and rebellion. It had forgotten God (cf. Deut. 6:12), the source of all its blessings, and pursued the popular idols of surrounding nations (15). Judah repeatedly turned away from God, despite his compassion and many blessings. What do you do with such extreme hardness of heart? Would God throw away the faulty clay, after repeated attempts to redeem it? No: God still reaches out with mercy (cf. Hos. 11:8). He warns Judah of impending doom from the Potter's hands--and appeals with the tender heart of the Potter who loves the clay and does not want to throw it away. He pleads with Judah to turn away from evil, to "reform your ways and your actions" (11).
History tells us that, sadly, Judah turned away from God. God was forced to turn his back on them. No longer were they able to talk about God's face and the blessings and peace that came from that face (Num. 6:24-26). Thankfully the story does not end there. If sin is stubborn, God is even more stubbornly loving, for he paid the greatest sacrifice when he sent his Son to die on the cross for us (1 John 4:9). The Potter's hands were wounded so that the clay can be saved. This is the final offer from the Potter.
Make a list of people who, in your opinion, are beyond redemption because of their long disobedience. Pray for them.
Father, I praise You for Your stubborn love. Your hands were wounded, that I might be saved. You are the Potter, and I am the clay.