Hammer or Oven?

Jeremiah 18:3–6:
“Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on
the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of
the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to
make. Then the word of the Lord
came to me saying, ‘Can I not, O house of

Israel, deal with you as this
potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Behold,
like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.’”

Observation: This passage uses the familiar
illustration of a potter at work to impart understanding of God’s authority to
remake His people into an image He likes. When an unpleasing form appeared on
the potter’s wheel it was readily destroyed, that he might have another go at
it. Just so, the Lord will deal with me. 
I am clay in His hands; He has purposed not to rest until He has made me
into the image He has in mind.

Application: If I evolved from a
blob of protoplasm, who is God to think He can execute authority over me?

Ah, but He thwarted that argument from the beginning. Once the spirit of life, His Holy Spirit, was
breathed into me, all arguments about ownership were laid to rest. He made this
lump of clay; in fact, He owns it doubly, having purchased it by the blood of
His dear Son from the pile of discarded shards of broken rebellion that litter
my life. 

So yes, He has every right to now lay a sharpened stick into
my side as I turn on His wheel. Let’s assume for a moment that I can avoid His
hammer of disappointed destruction, and that He really does begin to take
pleasure in what He sees emerging. Just as I breathe
a sigh of relief to have dodged the hammer, the
realization dawns that because He is so pleased, now
the oven awaits. Ugh!

How else can I receive the dazzling colors He wants to apply
yet still retain my shape? Can the divine oven be avoided if I am to have
ultimate usefulness?  Let’s see, hammer
or oven, which shall it be? The thing to remember is this: God looks well
beyond the oven, envisioning my perfect usefulness after the fire has had its
way with me. I think of the passage I read from 2 Corinthians 4:16–17 at my
wife’s graveside: “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is
decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light
affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all

Prayer: Adjust
the heat, Lord, so Your work in me might have a perfect result.

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