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Devotions > Pride in the Clay

30 Jul 2010

In Romans Chapter 9 Paul uses clay to represent our relationship with God [ the potter ].   Paul’s point: God can do with us whatever He desires.

Romans 9:21 (AMP)
 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same mass (lump) one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble and dishonorable use?

We see this same clay and potter illustration used earlier by Isaiah in Chapter  29:16 (AMP):
[Oh, your perversity!] You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be considered of no more account than the clay? Shall the thing that is made say of its maker, He did not make me; or the thing that is formed say of him who formed it, He has no understanding?

Isaiah proclaims that the people who were called the people of God did not know God.   This may be the most significant problem with the Church of Jesus Christ in North America today!   For the most part we do not know God as God.   Yes, no doubt, in most churches there are a few saints who have not bowed their knees to Baal.   But in the main most folks who call themselves Christians are very much like their unbelieving counterparts in the world.   Unbelievers cannot identify believers as being unique by their actions or by their words.   The Holy Spirit that indwells every believer is not free to exercise His power in and through the lives of most of us who populate His churches on Sunday.

The problem: the clay is permeated with pride.   We have things upside down!   The average churchgoer evaluates his Sunday morning experience based on one criterion: what did this morning do for me?   Of course, gathering with other believers to worship and to receive instruction should give us hope and strength, but the purpose of church, the purpose of our relationship with God is not for our pleasure or security.    God does not exist in order to insure that things go well with us.   This subtle lie has silently crept into our base line thinking such that we no longer believe that the key to our relationship with God is to bring Him glory by obedience, through faith.

Listen to the words of a hymn that your grandmother likely sang:

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

By our current thinking many would more honestly sing:  

I want my own way Lord, I want my own way,                                                                                                                                                       Thou art the potter, make me my way.                                                                                                                                                                     Mold me and make me after my will,                                                                                                                                                                      While I am waiting impatiently still

Stanza 2:

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Our current thinking version:

I want my own way Lord, I want my own way!                                                                                                                                                              Don’t search me or try me, I’ll do what I say                                                                                                                                                               Whiter than snow Lord, I must be just now                                                                                                                                                          Therefore my head will, I not need to bow.

Stanzas 3 and 4

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

God also spoke about clay through His prophet Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 18:1-10 (AMP)
1 THE WORD which came to Jeremiah from the Lord:
2 Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.
3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he was working at the wheel.
4 And the vessel that he was making from clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he made it over, reworking it into another vessel as it seemed good to the potter to make it.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me:
6 O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does? says the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.
7 At one time I will suddenly speak concerning a nation or kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it;
8 And if [the people of] that nation concerning which I have spoken turn from their evil, I will relent and reverse My decision concerning the evil that I thought to do to them.
9 At another time I will suddenly speak concerning a nation or kingdom, that I will build up and plant it;
10 And if they do evil in My sight, obeying not My voice, then I will regret and reverse My decision concerning the good with which I said I would benefit them.

Our fate is not in the hands of our Government.  It is in the hands of our God!   Perhaps more accurately according to the scripture above, it is in the hands of the people of God.   WILL WE TURN FROM OUR EVIL?

Will we humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways?   Adelaide Pollard, in this timeless hymn gave us some great direction:   humble ourselves, get the pride out of the clay, ask God to search our hearts and cleans us in order that the power of the Holy Spirit will be available for all to see!

May His church turn from seeking glory for itself and return to the single focus of bringing glory to our God!

Jeff Williams