Abraham was called “the friend of God,” one with whom He would speak, commune and reason, face to face.
Abba-Father, God, the One who gives us a portion of Himself, Who embraces and encourages us through His Spirit, earnestly desires us to know His ways and not to settle for only knowing His acts. Jesus made this relational shift very plain when He shared, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15, NASB)
As He spoke to His disciples on that day, so He speaks to us – His disciples in this century, in this generation – today. His desire is for us to perceive, recognize, and move with Him in His ways.
As recorded in Jeremiah 18, the prophet followed God’s instruction to go to the potter’s house, and patiently watched the potter at his work as he awaited the Lord’s Voice again. “Then God’s Message came to me: ‘Can’t I do just as this potter does, people of Israel?’ God’s Decree! ‘Watch this potter. In the same way that this potter works his clay, I work on you, people of Israel. At any moment I may decide to pull up a people or a country by the roots and get rid of them. But if they repent of their wicked lives, I will think twice and start over with them. At another time I might decide to plant a people or country, but if they don’t cooperate and won’t listen to me, I will think again and give up on the plans I had for them.'” (Jer. 18:1-10, The Message)
While we are not the ethnic “people of Israel,” but we are indeed “His people,” the flock who trusts, watches for, and follows its Shepherd.
Hear His question to Jeremiah: ‘Can’t I do just as this potter does…?” (The Message) Or, “Can I not…deal with you as this potter does?” (NASB) Or, “Can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay?” (Holman Christian Standard Bible) Notice: that potter, like our Potter, did not waste any of his clay. It was precious to him…just as we are precious to Him. With the potter’s wisdom and skill, he carefully utilized every bit of his material to create something that would be recognized as the fruit of his labor.
Let me set up a context for thinking about Jeremiah 18:5-8, the core of God’s statement: there are 12 specific Scriptures in the New American Standard translation referring to the description, “before the foundation of the world.” Among them, Jesus references “the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” in Matthew 25:34. Paul taught the Ephesians that “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4, NASB). Peter shared that “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” (I Pet. 1:20, NASB)
In using that before-the-foundation-of-the-
Does anyone else find this fascinating…amazing… even humbling?
Part of God’s purpose in His conversation with Jeremiah was to prepare the prophet for the edict he was to deliver. However, Timothy reminds us that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…” (2 Tim. 3:16) It seems clear to me, then, that this passage reveals a consistent God-theme that is relevant and applicable to my life, to your life: He waits.
Through the finished work of Jesus, He has given me – us – a portion of Himself, His Spirit. This has changed the process of seed-growth altogether, as He has pulled up our previous source of nourishment as coming from the dry, dusty soil of the earth and re-potted us into the rich fertile soil found in Himself.
And when He faces that intangible dynamic in which the freewill choice of the creation rubs against the Hand of the Potter and is not easily molded…still He waits, taking our different degrees of malleability into account as He fashions His glory into our vessel.