“So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.” — Jer 18:3-7
The Bible uses symbolism to deepen the message God has for His people. One such symbol is that of potter and clay. Although God allows us the freedom to make moral choices, we need frequent reminders that God is still sovereign and can do as He pleases whether we understand His actions or not (Romans 9:20–21).
With God, failure is not final. He will make you a vessel of beauty regardless of how marred our past may be.
The illustration at the potter’s house did not only demonstrate God’s right to display judgment, but also His right to display mercy. He was free to work with a previously marred vessel if He chose to do so. Yet He was also free to take back good He had done to a nation if they did evil in His sight.
The potter working with the clay reminds us that God is at work in us “for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Just as the clay finds its highest purpose when it remains pliable in the hands of the potter, so our lives fulfill their highest purpose when we let our Potter have His way with us.