We think of God as a potter for many reasons. I have explored this idea more and more after writing three children’s books about a vessel and its creator. As a result, these books are all allegories that represent the relationship mankind has with God.
The main character is a vessel named Little Pot. In the book, Little Pot discovers why the potter made it. In this blog, Little Pot wishes to share the process of being made. The process a potter uses to create a vessel will illustrate important truths about how God makes into a vessel ready to be used by Him
God the Potter
It may be obvious, but it is important to note that God is the potter. He is the creator of all. The Bible has ninety-two different verses that reference potter or clay imagery. A list of some can be found here.
I recently read a thesis project by Karl Alan Stelzer who is a potter and a minister. He gives incredible insight into the imagery of God as a potter. You can also listen to a sermon he gives on this topic here.
Clay in the Potter’s Hands
A potter creates vessels and God created us. Likewise, there is something more personable about how a potter forms the vessels. The potter uses his hands to form vessels. If you notice when God created everything in the universe, He spoke it into existence. However, with mankind, he formed them from the dirt (or clay). Watching a potter form a vessel is different than watching other creators. A painter with a brush, a writer with a keyboard, a builder with bricks, or even a carpenter using a saw is not the same as a potter who puts both hands around a lump of clay.
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
You are the Potter and I am the Clay
The following five steps will illustrate reasons that we can think of God as a potter.
1. God as a potter, wedges the clay
His hands work out unwanted air bubbles. He softens it into a pliable lump that is ready for the wheel. This is known as wedging. To successfully wedge a piece of clay, the potter throws it onto a hard surface pushes, pulls, and smacks the clay. Also, a lump of clay holds the memory of its previous container. Wedging it will remove the memory of that form and prepare it to be centered on the wheel. When we allow the potter, God to wedge us He removes unwanted spaces. He helps us to move past the form that we previously held. It may feel a bit painful as He pushes and pulls at us too.
2. God as a potter, centers the clay
Once the potter feels the clay is ready, he places it on the wheel for centering. Centering brings the clay in balance. Centering the clay requires that the potter move and control the clay. A beginner potter allows the clay to move their hands. Likewise, we try to move God in the way we want to go. However, a master potter will spin and apply pressure to the side and top of the clay. Finally, the clay will rest and succumb to the potter’s hands. Only then is the clay balanced. Just as we become in balance when we no longer try to go our own way and rest in God’s hands.
The third reason is that the potter must open the clay. In order to open the clay, the potter finds the center and gently pushes it downward. This makes a small indentation at the top center of the clay. The potter does not dig the clay out. Instead, he gently moves it while widening the opening. In this step, the lump of clay becomes a vessel and the change has begun. Once the opening is wide enough the potter can take a sponge and clean the inside. He continues to check for balance as well. This step illustrates how we are to be completely open to God and willing for Him to control us.
4. Lifting Up
After opening the clay, the potter quickly begins lifting it upward. The hands of the potter guide the clay into a tall cylinder. The clay is very fragile at this stage because the walls are very thin. The potter does not force the clay. He simply uses both hands to guide it moving it always up. The potter gently puts one hand inside the vessel and the other on the outside. When the clay is moving with the potter on the inside, the outside of the vessel takes care of itself.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.1 Peter 5:6
The Lord upholds all who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.Psalm 145:14
Lastly, the final step is for the potter to shape the clay into the form he has planned. During this step, the potter slows the wheel down and spins very specific details into the clay. In addition, the potter never takes his eyes off of the vessel. Each stroke the potter does has a purpose in shaping the vessel. The clay still must remain completely centered and at the will of the potter. The slightest shift can mean that the clay will collapse, making it necessary to start the process again. As Jeremiah 18:4 describes, when the vessel becomes flawed, the potter forms it into a new vessel.
Once the potter has finished, he has created a vessel for a specific purpose. In the three books: The Little Pot, The Tea Pot, and The Oil Lamp, the different vessels discover their unique purposes. We are each given a specific purpose too. Our potter, God created us in a specific way to fulfill the plans He has for us. (Eph. 2:10)
God as a potter wants you to grow the fruit of the Spirit
Little Pot also helps children (and adults) become fruit-bearing vessels! Therefore, I want you to have this FREE booklet. It will show you and your children how “the Potter” will grow the fruit of the Spirit through you. When you sign up, you are added to the email list. Consequently, each Friday you will receive a short, fruitful email of fun information and additional freebies. I hope you will join me. You can unsubscribe at any time.
The Little Pot, The Tea Pot, and The Oil Lamp are also available on Amazon.
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