In this text, Jeremiah the prophet is called by God to go to the house of a potter. There he observes the potter at work - beginning a creation, finding it not to his liking, collapsing the vessel, compressing the clay, and beginning again. And the word of the Lord comes to Jeremiah, making the work of the potter a metaphor for the way God works with (in this case) communities and nations.
If we read a little further, we hear Jeremiah sharing both a word of warning and a word of encouragement. If Israel turns from evil, God "will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring upon it"; but then, if Israel does evil, God will again change course, and not bring about the intended good.
Usually, we hear this passage in an individual way - God is the potter, and we are the clay. Surely, that is true. But it is also true that in this case, the text really addresses the community - the nation of Israel. Thus we are invited to think about the sovereign power of God, the issue of free will, and the possibility that God might change course in mid-stream (in response to human action?).
So what do you think?
- Is God's "plan" a fixed and determined course of events?
Then what about our free will?
- How does this text speak to your life individually?
What about our life together as a church?
- What does this say about the covenant, the promise, God has made
to be God, and to claim the people as God's own?
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