Verses 1-3, “The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.”
Will Rogers was known for his laughter, but he also knew how to weep. One day he was entertaining at the Milton H. Berry Institute in Los Angeles, a hospital that specialized in rehabilitating polio victims and people with broken backs and other extreme physical handicaps. Of course, Rogers had everybody laughing, even patients in really bad condition; but then he suddenly left the platform and went to the rest room. Milton Berry followed him to give him a towel; and when he opened the door, he saw Will Rogers leaning against the wall, sobbing like a child. He closed the door, and in a few minutes, Rogers appeared back on the platform, as jovial as before.
If you want to learn what a person is really like, ask three questions: What makes him laugh? What makes him angry? What makes him weep? These are fairly good tests of character that are especially appropriate for Christian leaders. I hear people saying, “We need angry leaders today!” or “The time has come to practice militant Christianity!” Perhaps, but “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Warren W. Wiersbe, The Integrity Crisis, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, pp. 75-76.
Jeremiah went to the potter’s house not to preach a sermon, but to receive a sermon. This was not a sermon to hear, but a sermon to see from God Himself.
Matthew Henry said, “Those who had a sermon need not study them, if given by Divine Inspiration.”
There is a national and a personal application to what Jeremiah saw:
- He applies it to the person verses 1-4.
- He applies it to the nation in verses 5-9.
The first thing Jeremiah saw was the potter making a vessel, and something caused it to be marred. So “he made it again.”
God is saying that we are like clay in the potter’s hand, and like the clay, we resisted, but God is a God of a second chance and opportunity – “He made it again.”
According to verse eight, God may even repent of the judgment upon the nation (change His mind), if they will turn from evil. On the other hand, God may also repent of the good with which He would bless them according to verse ten. God is saying to the nation and individual, “I am trying to make something great out of you.”
God can make something beautiful out of clay, and God can make something beautiful out of the Christian who is pliable.
Jeremiah was quick to do what God said in verse two, and look at what he did in verse three, “Then I went down to the potter’s house.” That’s a real working faith:
- Obedience is essential to hear the voice of God.
- God speaks to us through the routine things in life.