We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. — Isaiah 64:8
Why did God create man? Theologians and scholars have debated this for centuries. What were God’s reasons for creating a being equipped not only with a physical body, but a mind, soul, reasoning ability, conscience, spirit, and free will? Why would God, who is perfect and flawless, mold a man from the dust of the earth and place him in a perfect paradise, knowing all along man would fall into sin? Digging into God’s Word and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal the hidden treasures of truth are imperative to your walk with Jesus.
To fully grasp the pottery process and compare it to God's Word, we need to understand history of the potter and the clay...
Ancient civilizations used earthenware clay to develop functional pots and platters. Traditional earthenware clay pieces were usually red, a blend of iron-rich clay compositions. Vitreous clay, such as porcelain and stoneware, was also discovered as a valuable clay medium. Pot shards revealing the story of ancient potters can be discovered across all parts of the world. Imagine digging up a centuries-old, reddish-brown clay bowl without any glaze glossing over the fingerprints of the ancient potter who created it. The impression of the potter’s hand remains on the bowl after thousands of years.
Clay is one of the most pliable and oldest art materials in the world. It is a natural decomposition of rock and one of the most abundant, inexpensive resources known to man. The creative possibilities for a lump of clay are almost endless to a skilled potter. The potter has the freedom to form the clay however he desires. He has complete control over the creation of the pot, just as God has total control over the uniqueness of each individual before conception.
In Genesis 1:27 we read, “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God blessed man, instructed him to multiply, and gave him authority on Earth to rule over every living thing. God entrusted man with the power to supervise things on this earth. But is this the only reason God created man — to manage His property and possessions? With a big shout I say, “No!” Digging into God's Word brings revelation. After the sixth day of creation, Genesis 1:31 tells us, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good." It is interesting to note that after the other days of creation God said, “It was good,” but after the creation of man, His statement was, “It was very good.” The Hebrew word here for good is towb which means “to be good, pleasing, joyful, beneficial, pleasant, favorable, happy, or right.” In other words, very good actually means God was exceedingly pleased with His creation of man. Can’t you hear the love flowing from His lips?
Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? (Romans 9:21) In Greek, the word for power over is exasla, which means, "the right to act, decide, or dispose of one’s property as one wishes." The technical term is used in establishing someone’s will or testament. The Greek word for the same lump is furamatos, which means, "that which is mixed or kneaded." The potter has the right and ability to decide the outcome of whatever is mixed or kneaded. It is safe to say the difference is not found in the clay itself, but in the potter’s purpose.
Now we’re getting somewhere. God loves each one of His creations independently and personally. Is this the whole reason for the formation of mankind? Look at 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.” Think about that for a moment — God loves each one of us before we know Him. He designs each person in a specific way to accomplish His purposes and to further His kingdom. He is the Master Designer with a master plan. Personally, I would like to see an outline of my life with all the blanks filled in, wouldn’t you? Have fun this week as you discover you were Created for God, by God!
If possible find a piece of pottery this week, either in your own home or somewhere else. Take time to examine the details, character qualities, and purpose of the vessel. Do you think the product fulfilled the potter’s design? For example, the pot may have been formed from a mixture of various red clays. You could describe it as a red vessel, but is it also red for another reason? Maybe red represented pain or agony to the potter. Perhaps you purchased a pot from an antique store because it went with the décor in your living room. Allow yourself to think back to the time it was created. Maybe a Native American created the pot as the family’s sole cooking utensil. Can you visualize a woman using it to prepare meals throughout the winter? Ask the Lord to help you see past the obvious, so you can realize a deeper spiritual truth hidden within the earthenware. Look for ways God reveals His Truths to you this week. Trust you were created for God, by God.
From My Heart to Yours,
Founder of Reflective Life Ministries, Award-Winning Author of My Prayer Chair