Text: Jeremiah 18:1-4
GOD IS NO ORDINARY POTTER
In Jeremiah 18:1-4, God opened Jeremiah’s spiritual eyes to see how we are in the hands of a loving God. Jeremiah got an understanding of what happens to a man or situation when that person or situation is placed in the hands of a loving God. The New Living Translation of verse 4 of this scripture says “But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over”. When you are in the hands of a loving God, He gives you opportunities to start all over again; He makes it possible for you to experience a new beginning.
God is no ordinary potter. This was what God wanted Jeremiah to understand that was why He sent Jeremiah to the potter’s house. If what God had shown Jeremiah was clay in the hands of another person not a potter, what Jeremiah would have seen would have been a completely different thing.
We understand from verse 4 that while the pot was in the hands of the potter, it was marred, it got spoilt, it didn’t turn out well. Here are two possible responses someone who isn’t a potter would have had to this situation:
1. The person may not have had the patience to start all over again or to continue working with that same pot.
Starting over requires a lot of patience. God as a potter is able to start over with the same marred, spoilt pot because He is no ordinary potter. We are clay in the hands of a patient and loving God.
Most of us have very low tolerance for the weaknesses, faults and mistakes of others. When people are not performing up to our expectations, we start boiling, get angry and flare up. If God used to flare up the same way we do, most or all of us would have been dead by now, we would have been consumed by the wrath of God. But Lamentations 3:22 tells us that it is because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
There are some weaknesses we can’t tolerate in people. Many of us can’t stand people who are slow, lazy, fearful and indecisive or people who are arrogant, blunt and bossy. We very easily and quickly punish people for their weaknesses, we are quick to give up on people because of their weaknesses. God on the other hand is not quick to punish or give up on people like we are, He patiently waits for us to repent and change (2 Peter 3:9, Psalm 103:8.). It is if we refuse to repent and change after several attempts by God to get us to change that we come under His judgment (Jeremiah 18:5-12).
Even though the pot didn’t turn out well, it wasn’t looking good, it had some flaws, it didn’t meet up to the potter’s expectations, the potter still continued working on and with the clay. That is how we are in the hands of God.
2. The person may have thrown the pot away or discarded it.
When items in our homes or offices get spoilt, damaged, broken or rotten, what do we do with those items? We throw them away, put them aside, dump or abandon them somewhere in our store or backyard. As far as we are concerned, they are no longer desirable and useful. But when you are in the hands of a loving and merciful God as the prophet Jeremiah saw, no matter how spiritually rotten, spoilt, damaged or broken you are, God will not throw you away, He will not abandon you. The potter still had use for the marred pot; He still continued working on it. Because God is ever so merciful, He gives spiritually marred, damaged, broken, spoilt and rotten people an opportunity to start over, He gives them a new beginning (Isaiah 1:18).
OTHER DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THINGS IN THE HANDS OF MAN AND THINGS IN THE HANDS OF GOD
• What is in the hand of a man can be stolen. At gunpoint, your phone, car, jewelry, even your very life can be taken away. But whatever is placed in the hands of God is secure there. John 10:29 says “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand”. The hand of God is the safest place to be.
• No matter how physically fit and strong a person is, there is a limit to what he can carry in his hands. The world weightlifting champions or record holders have been able to carry weights measuring over 200kg. And that’s a lot of weight to carry. But Job 12:10 tells us that God is carrying in His hands the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. God’s hands are strong enough to carry at the same time all the animals in this world, billions of people, the depths of the earth and the mountain peaks (Psalm 95:4). Isaiah 40:12 tells us that what God is carrying in His hand is immeasurable; too large, too extensive. No measuring scale has the measuring unit to measure what God is carrying in His hands.
• When you are carrying something in your hand say your suitcase or even your baby, after sometime your hands will get tired and you may have to drop what is in your hands. Compare what the Bible says in Isaiah 40:28 and Isaiah 40:30. The hands of a young, strong, agile person can get tired and weary. But God who is much older than the oldest person on earth, has hands that never get tired or weary.
So we see that the hands of God are not ordinary. His hands are described as majestic in power (Exodus 15:6), gracious (Ezra 8:18), mighty (1 Peter 5:6), strong (Psalm 89:13). Just a wave of God’s hands can do great wonders (Isaiah 19:16 NKJV). The hands of God can save, heal, deliver, restore, comfort, strengthen and protect. This is why when you are in the hands of God, you will certainly experience a new beginning.
Jabez was a man that was desperate for a new beginning. Things weren’t going well for him. From birth as his name implies, he had been going through a cycle of pain and sorrow. He cried out to God for a change, for a new beginning. Jabez understood that to experience a new beginning, you need the hand of God to rest on you. This was why he prayed for the hand of God to be with him, to be mighty upon his life (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). Jabez experienced a new beginning because he found himself in the hands of a loving God. I pray that today, the awesome, loving and mighty hand of God will come upon us, our church and nation so that we can truly experience a new beginning.
HOW THE HANDS OF GOD CAN GIVE YOU A NEW BEGINNING
1. The hand of God can repair the irreparable
In Ezekiel 37:2, God made Ezekiel take time to examine the bones in the valley. God led him back and forth through the valley. God did this so Ezekiel could fully appreciate and understand the situation on ground. Ezekiel observed that the bones were very dry; the bones had badly decayed. Humanly speaking, it looked like nothing could resuscitate those bones, nothing could make them live again. But the power of God brought them back to life. From dry, lifeless bones they were transformed into a great army (Ezekiel 37:10). God was able to repair an irreparable situation and give those dry bones a new beginning.
Psalm 89:13 tells us that there is power in the hand of God. There is power in the hand of God to repair any person, object or situation that is beyond repair. Every irreparable situation in your life can be repaired by the mighty hand of God. When the hand of God comes on you, every dry bone in your life will come alive.
Luke 4:40 tells us that people with all manner of sickness were brought to Jesus. Some of those brought to Jesus were people with broken, badly damaged bones (Mark 2:3). Some of those sicknesses brought to Jesus were people with terminal diseases; people at the point of death. Even people who had died; people in the most hopeless of situations where brought to Jesus (Matthew 9:23-26, Luke 7:11-15). But by the touch of His hands, they were healed, restored and delivered and received a new beginning. By the touch of His hands, the weak were made strong, what was lost was restored, what was dead was brought back to life. That same hand of Jesus can touch you today and restore hope to every hopeless situation in your life. That same hand of Jesus can come upon you today and repair whatever is badly broken, damaged or dead in your body, family, marriage, finances, business or ministry (Hebrews 13:8).
2. The hand of God can satisfy unmet/unfulfilled desires and expectations
Psalm 37:4 tells us that God satisfies the hearts desires of those who delight themselves in Him. If we look at our life, there are many desires and needs that God has met. There are also one, two or more desires that haven’t yet been met. We are still praying to God to meet those desires; we are still waiting for the fulfillment or manifestation of those desires. Some of these desires are things that for 1, 2, 5, 10 or 15 years we have been praying about. Maybe in your own case, it is for even much longer. So for some time now, you have been waiting on God to do a particular thing in your life. The waiting period is not an easy one at all. It takes the grace of God to be faithful and committed to God during such times. It takes the grace of God not to give up.
Proverbs 13:12 says “hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life”. This verse is not necessarily talking of heart diseases such as heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure or hypertension. Though in some extreme cases if the person isn’t careful, it can result in these heart conditions. This verse is primarily referring to a heart that is sad, weighed down, discouraged and frustrated because certain desires and expectations haven’t yet been met. If you are in this kind of situation, I have good news for you. Your expectations shall not be cut short. Because the hand of God is not broken, you shall see the fulfillment of your heart’s desires so long as those desires are in line with the Word of God.
We understand from Psalm 145:16 and Psalm 104:28 that when God opens His hands desires are met, people are satisfied with good things. Is there a desire or expectation in your life that hasn’t yet been met? God will open His hand over your life today and meet those unmet and unfulfilled desires and expectations.
While waiting for our desires to be met, for our situation to change, we go through all kinds of trouble. You will receive from the Lord’s hand double for all those insults, abuse, mockery and ridicule you have suffered. You will receive double for all your pain and weeping. You will receive double for all the hardship and discomfort you have been through (Isaiah 61:7, Isaiah 40:1-2). You will receive a new beginning from the hand of the Lord.
3. The hand of God can lift you up
In Psalm 40:1-3, David was in a horrible pit. God lifted him from that pit, set his feet on a rock, gave him a firm place to stand and put a new song in his mouth. What part of your body do you use to lift up something? It is your hands. God used his hand of power and glory to lift David out of the pit. No matter how deep the pit you are in is, no matter how bad or serious your problem is, the hand of God can locate you, reach out to you and lift you out of that pit. Today, the hand of God will lift us out of every horrible pit, His hands will lift us out of the pit of sin, sickness, debt, poverty, barrenness, failure and stagnation and we shall sing a new song. A new song means a new thing, a new beginning, a new reason to praise God. You will have something new, something different to praise God for.
The hand of God can lift you up when you fall. Peter fell badly. He denied Jesus three times. Peter was no ordinary person, he was a spiritual giant. Apart from Jesus Christ, he is the only man who ever walked on water. He had amazing spiritual encounters such as the transfiguration of Jesus. He was sent out by Jesus to heal the sick and cast out demons. But this spiritual giant fell so badly. The Lord in His mercy and patience lifted Peter from that fallen state (Matthew 26:69-75, John 21:15-19). Psalm 37:23-24 tells us that the Lord upholds us with His hand when we stumble, when we miss it, when we fall into sin. Proverbs 24:16 says though a righteous man falls seven times, he is able to rise again because at all those seven times, God is there to pick him up so he doesn’t remain in that fallen state, so he can have a fresh start, a new beginning.
Have you fallen like Peter? Have you fallen into fornication, adultery and other sexual sins? Have you fallen spiritually? Has your prayer life risen or has it fallen? Has your faith and study of God’s word fallen or risen? Have you fallen or risen in your service and devotion to God? Revelation 2:4-5 talks about those who have fallen spiritually, who have forsaken their first love, passion and zeal for God. Is that the condition you are in today? Yes, you still come regularly to church, but in your heart you are far from God. All you seem to be doing is just going through the motions of Christianity. The hand of God is here to lift up everyone who has fallen and give you a new beginning.
The hand of God can also lift you to heights you never imagined you could get to. We all want a lifting, but the question is who are we looking to for this lifting? Is it your pastor, boss, some wealthy and influential person you are looking to for a lifting; for a promotion? A lot of Christians are looking to people to lift and promote them in life that’s why there’s so much eye service and politicking amongst believers. It is when you understand that your lifting comes from God that you won’t have to manipulate and struggle to be lifted. It is when you understand that your lifting comes from God that you will get to heights you never imagined you could get to.
My little daughter who is two years old, at times tries to carry her one year old brother. When she does, both of them end up falling down and I have to tell her that she is too small to carry her brother. You need to be on a much higher level to lift up someone that is below you physically, spiritually or financially. Someone that is down can’t lift up another person that is down or you both might end up going down like it happens with my daughter and her younger brother.
Our God is the perfect person to look to when you need a lifting in any area of your life because He is higher than us in every respect.
If it is in age – He is ageless, He has been in existence even before creation that is why He is called the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:22). Job 36:26 says the number of his years is unsearchable.
If it is in wisdom and knowledge – He knows things none of us knows. Nothing is new to Him, nothing is beyond His experience and understanding (Colossians 2:3).
If it is in wealth and riches – Everything in this world belongs to Him (Psalm 24:1, Psalm 50:10). That’s why power to make wealth comes from Him (Deuteronomy 8:18).
If it is in authority – All nations, kingdoms, thrones, principalities and powers are subject to Him (2 Chronicles 20:6, Ephesians 1:21).
If it is in power – All power belongs to Him (Matthew 28:18, Psalm 62:11).
God is older than the oldest, wisest than the wisest, richer than the richest, stronger than the strongest. Because He is forever exalted, forever on high, He can always lift up those who look to Him. And as you look to Him today, He will lift you up.
Esther was a nobody, but God lifted her and made her a queen. David was an ordinary shepherd boy but God lifted him and made him a king. No matter how low spiritually, physically and financially you are today, God can reach out to you and lift you to a level you never imagined you would get to (1 Samuel 2:6-8). The hand of God will lift you up and seat you with princes. The hand of God will promote you and take you to higher heights. God will show forth as your glory and the lifter up of your head and this will be your song, this will be your testimony…I will exalt you Lord, for thou has lifted me (Psalm 30:1).
4. Finally, the hand of God can smash and shatter every enemy resisting your new beginning
We are all familiar with the story of the Israelites. How God wanted to rescue them from years of oppression and slavery and take them to the Promised Land. God wanted to give them a new beginning. But Pharaoh seriously resisted and opposed this new beginning. He didn’t want to let them go, he didn’t want them to experience a change in their situation, he didn’t want them to enter their promised land, he didn’t want them to have a new beginning.
Exodus 15:6-7 tells us that after much resistance from Pharaoh, the Lord arose on behalf of the Israelites. God arose to fight their case and deliver them from every resistance and opposition to their new beginning. Verse 6 says “Your right hand, O Lord was majestic in power, your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy”.
The Lord shall demonstrate His power in our lives. He will shatter every ‘Pharaoh’ resisting and opposing our moving forward and experiencing a new beginning.
In Ezra 8:31 NKJV we see another instance where God scattered and destroyed every opposition to a new beginning. God through Ezra wanted to give a new beginning to the Israelites who had been taken as captives to Babylon. On their way from Babylon to Jerusalem, there were enemies on the way, ambushes had been set for them. But the gracious hand of God protected them from those enemies and scattered every ambush the enemy had set for them. The Lord will scatter every ambush, snare and trap the enemy has placed before you to prevent you from experiencing a new beginning. The gracious hand of God is on every one who sincerely looks to Him to keep and protect the person from every satanic resistance and opposition. This shall be your portion in Jesus mighty name.
I don’t know how bad your situation is today. What I know is that there is no mistake the hand of God can’t correct, there is no damage the hand of God can’t repair, there is no problem the hand of God can’t solve. Isaiah 41:10 says “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. God is telling us in this verse not to fear, despair and give up no matter how bad things look, no matter the enemies that surround us. You may be in a tight corner and it looks like there is no way out of that difficult situation. You are tired of ‘Egypt’ and you want to move to your ‘Promised Land’, you want a new beginning. But it appears like there is this big ‘Red Sea’ preventing you from moving forward. The hand of God will make a way for you where there seems to be no way (Isaiah 43:19), His hand will give you a new beginning.
Do you desire this new beginning? Do you want God to repair every irreparable situation in your life, to lift you out of the miry pit, to lift you out of the mud of sin, to satisfy those unmet and unfulfilled desires of your heart and take you to higher heights? Then run to the everlasting arms of God. Come humbly to God, come and humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and you will experience a lifting, a change, a turn around, a new beginning.
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