I Watched the Artist
In this case he was a sculptor. Beginning with a lump of clay, he sculpted with care and skill. In approximately ½ hour he had transformed the clay into a marvelous representation of an image of Christ.
This sculptor was a guest artist minister at our church. The pastor’s series on the ‘Potter and the Clay’ was made real before our eyes. I watched the skillful craftsman, his large dexterous hands at work, every motion carefully calculated for design.
Our pastor earlier reminded us that “the Potter can do what the clay cannot”. He noted that the lump of clay can lie there, and without the Potter’s operation, there it will remain. No transforming, no forming.
For divine operations in us, the clay, we must have the skilled hands of the Potter.
The Potter and the Clay
The Potter. Design. Fascinating. He knows what He desires to achieve. He has the end image in view. But now, O LORD, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter (Isa. 64:8, NASB).
The clay. And that we are. We know it. We feel our humanity so much and so often.
As I pondered the imagery, I contemplated an interesting dynamic here. Our Potter is the Creator and the Sustainer of all, of the universe; we are created beings before Him. He is Sovereign; we are subjects. He is all powerful; we are quite less! He is all wise; the wisest of us has no new counsel for Him! He is infinite; we are finite. He is holy; we are born rebels, ‘sin-natured’.
Psalm 103 through the potter-clay lens
It is interesting to read Psalm 103 through this lens. We ‘the clay ones’ have a list to be grateful for! Gratefully, the Potter, “ . . . knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust (Ps. 103:14, NASB). This is stated in the context of a litany of marvellous ‘benefits’ from Him: ‘pardoning iniquities, healing diseases, redeeming from the pit, crowning with lovingkindness and compassion, satisfying with good things, exercising judgment for oppressed ones, making known His acts to Israel’s sons, and not dealing with us according to our sins’, among others (vv. 1-10).
But as to the clay, while a physical lifeless lump has no animating life nor attitude, we created beings were designed for response—the proper response—relationship, love, service. In previous posts I have noted how the Creator’s design was distorted through the rebellion of our first parents in Eden. As to the clay, clearly in Psalm 103 it is the person whose relationship is aligned with the Potter, who is receiving the Maker’s blessings. Those who fear [revere] Him (vv. 11, 17) are the ones to whom His lovingkindness is directed. His righteousness is to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them (vv. 17-18).
Here and in numerous other Scriptures, the ‘clay’s’ response matters!
It is clear that His judgment is against sin. “He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever” (v. 9). How incredibly grateful we can be that He is “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness”! (v. 8). On the other hand, it is clear that He delights in our ‘blessing the Lord’ alignment so that His blessings can awesomely continue to bless!
Christ Formed, and Being Formed
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul engaged in ministry so full-souled that he wrote to believers in Galatia: My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you (Gal. 4:19).
And as to the ‘forming of Christ’, our guest sculptor issued another challenge. As I process his message in my own life, I think of it in this way. Recognizing the work of the Potter forming believers, we, submissive clay, have a responsibility to allow the Master Potter to do His forming work in us. As He does, the ‘Christ formation’ shines forth to a broken world—to those yet needing to know Him as Savior and Lord.
This is our daily challenge and privilege.
You remain the Potter; so You have been, and ongoing is Your work.
I desire to be so malleable, so pliable that You form me into Your own image, and make me “useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work” (2 Tim. 2:21).
In the strong name of Christ.
P.S. You may find my previous post, Wholeness – There are Heights to Explore! insightful to read again along with this post.
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