One of the great metaphors of Scripture that’s meant to set things in perspective for us, the creatures, is Isaiah 64:8, “You [Lord] are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
Though humans continue to greatly exaggerate their intelligence and significance, the fact of the matter is, we are nothing more than pot people, mud-men and dust-dolly’s. Nothing should be more humbling for humans than to realize we were made from dirt, and only came alive when God breathed in life.
I love the imagery of the potter’s house, where Jeremiah was instructed by God to go and observe the art of shaping a vessel, a pot, from clay. The clay was shaped by strong hands holding the wet clay to a center position on the wheel, while his feet kept the wheel moving. But, Jeremiah observed that “the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands.” This was a picture of the fact that since the sin of Adam, God, as the artist of human life, is never working with a clean canvas. We are marred. We are damaged and disfigured. And, it’s actually worse than that, because unlike the clay, we fight back when God tries to fix us.
There’s a great scene where Geppetto is carving Pinocchio and he gets to the eyes and they start wandering around deviously. Pinocchio manages to free one arm and pulls off Geppetto’s wig and tosses it to the ground. Geppetto then says, “I have not even finished making you yet and already you are doing bad things.”
That depicts so well what God must feel like when He graciously tries to reshape us after His will and we rebel. Isaiah 45:9 says, “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?”
The glory of what Jeremiah witnessed at the potter’s house was what followed the mangled pot in the potter’s hands. Without flinching, the potter simply “formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.” “‘Can I not do with you as this potter does?’, declares the Lord. Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.’”
So, there you have it. The love story of the Bible is that God is willing to remake us into what we were intended to be. But never forget that obedience is the requirement for God’s use of your life.
“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8