God made humans to be pliable to His touch. The image seen in Genesis 2:7 is of an involved, attentive artist carefully and lovingly molding His subject to just the correct shape. This image is enhanced and developed elsewhere in Scripture when God is likened to a potter and humans are likened as His clay. Jeremiah 18:1-6 describes it well: “The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, ‘Go down to the shop where clay pots and jars are made. I will speak to you while you are there.’ So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he has hoped, so the potter squashed the jar into a lump of clay and started again. Then the Lord gave me this message: ‘O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.’”
God brought Jeremiah to the potter’s shop to teach him something special about His relationship to the human race. Isaiah 45:9-10 directly connects the potter’s image of God with His role as Creator of all things. “Destruction is certain for those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot ever argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you are doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, “How clumsy can you be!’ How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father and mother, ‘Why was I born? Why did you make me this way?’”
Some substances are better than others in the potter’s hands. Loose soil, stones, and rocks are not pliable. Soil crumbles to the touch. Stones and rocks strongly resist human touch. Mere human hands cannot mold them. As the presence of impurities spoil prime potter’s clay, so the presence of spiritual and moral impurities in the human life spoils pliability to God’s touch. Scripture is full of marred human vessels--Adam, Moses, Abraham, David, and Peter are examples of human resistance to God’s touch. The clay may resist the potter’s hands, the clay may become hard and may become dry and say, “I don’t want to go there, I don’t want to do that.”
God wants to form us into something useful. God never forms human vessels to be mere objects of adornment or entertainment. He also does not make mere storage vessels. It is not about how full we get, but about how much we can pour out. Are you trapped by some things in your life? Do spiritual ‘rocks’ and ‘stones’ keep getting into your clay? Are there things that pollute your vessel? God says, “Let me purify you. Do not let the world mold you into its image. Do not let the world shape you.” A vessel shaped by the world is not pliable to God’s sensitive touch!
When we were first saved, we were moist and pliable, willing to do affected by God’s influence. In time, though, we can become rigid and dry. God’s grace can make us pliable again. His grace is the moisture that dissolves our stiffness. God wants to gently take you in his hands and mold and shape your life in a new and wonderful way. Is there something hindering you from being what God wants you to be? Galatians 5:19-21 list the type of things that pollute our lives, the kind of things that make us too hard to respond to God’s gentle touch. “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual impurity, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin.” These things are equivalent to the impurities the potter must deal with.
Before the potter can begin to mold the clay, the clay must be purified by the removal of all foreign material. The pure clay is then mixed with water to make it malleable and kneaded to remove all air bubbles. The Word of God is the water that God uses to purify us. But notice, like clay that is ready and worthy, free from impurities and impediments, to be used by the potter, the Christian’s heart must be ready to listen before the Word of God can accomplish its purpose. “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God and he will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites. Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. When you bow before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor” (James 4:7-10).
Picture the possibilities of God taking you and putting you on His spiritual potter’s wheel and remaking you into a useful vessel that can be useful for His kingdom and glory. It is on His potter’s wheel where a kingdom nobody becomes a kingdom somebody, humble and useful for His glory. It is on His potter’s wheel where an unforgiving heart can be softened and made pliable again. It is where stubborn and destructive habits can be conquered forever.
An important step in the making of pottery is the firing process where the work of the pottery is subjected to intense heat. The silicus that is in potter’s clay is also in glass. When it is heated it becomes hard and strong. Before this heating process the potter’s work can be easily ruined. The clay cannot holdup to its planned uses without the heating process. As Christians we should expect trials and hard times. They are the spiritual firing process that God uses in our lives. Without them we cannot be made into useful vessels fit for the Master’s hands. When they occur do not buck and complain against them but seek God’s grace and righteousness within them and you will be forged into someone worthy of the Potter’s name, able to be used for those special purposes He has planned for you.