For the week of November 7, 2015
In every field of work, there are instruments and devices to perform that work. Each of these has their proper names and a particular use. In the laboratory where I work, most of the tests are performed with automated and computerized instruments. There is no need to make reagents. All that the instrument needs is pretty much supplied by the manufacturer, typically in plastic containers. One of the tests we do, however, is still performed the old way. We have to make our reagents. Making our reagents requires weighing solids, measuring the volume of liquids and mixing. So, we still use the old type of containers for the preparation of these reagents. There are many kinds of containers with different shapes and sizes and made out of different materials. Each of them has a purpose.
When preparing the reagents we pretty much follow a recipe: you weigh so much of this and add so much that. It always has to be the same amount. So, for weighing we have a scale. For measuring the volume of liquids, we have graduated cylinders and volumetric flasks. If we need to transfer a certain amount of liquid from one flask to another, we have pipettes. With a pipette, you suction a certain amount of liquid inside the pipette from one flask and dispense the liquid into another flask. Unlike, many of the other flasks used for storage, pipettes have only one function: transferring liquid. So, the pipette has but one principle: you fill them to empty them: just as a pot from a potter.
In Jeremiah 18, the Lord tells Jeremiah to "... arise and go down to the potter's house . . . to hear [the Lord's] words" (Jeremiah. 18:2-6). Let us read the rest of the story.
Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
In case we missed in the text, Isaiah also tells us Who the potter and the pot represent, "But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand" (Isaiah 64:8).
We learn from this parable that we are a "vessel" the Lord has been forming on the potter's wheel. He has a happy purpose for us to be useful in His great work of lighting the earth with the glory of His "everlasting gospel" message. But, as a vessel, we are marred from the beginning, because "all" of us "have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). In His mercy, the Divine Savior-Potter never throws any marred vessel (us) in the trash, no matter how lowly it may have become through being "marred." This act of kindness is the "good news" encouragement. So, the Potter always takes the marred vessel to "[makes] it again into another vessel, as it seem good to the Potter to make" (v. 4). By this action the Potter reveals redemption in action.
However, unlike the real vessel we can resist the Potter's work. We have freedom of choice and can resist God's will. This resisting God, Paul considers foolishness. He says in Romans, "But who are you, my friend" asks Paul, "to talk back to God? A clay pot does not ask the man who made it, 'Why have you made me like this?'"(Rom. 9:19, 20, GNB). Remember, in this context Paul thinks of himself as the chief of fools (1 Timothy 1:15). It is obvious that the "clay pot" needs to be reconciled in the heart to the Potter, as Paul did!
The obvious point here is that you cannot fill a marred pot, and empty it effectively, later. When the Potter remakes us, we are ready to be filled with living water. Christ told the woman at the well,
John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Jesus repeats these words to the crowd at one of the feasts. Let us read John 7:37-19,
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
John says that Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit. Paul says that "God has poured out His love [agape] into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us" (Rom. 5:5, GNB). Filled with His love, we cannot help but love in return. As Mary Magdalene loved Jesus, pouring all that she had on Him, we will pour all that God has given us back on Jesus in the form of our giving to others in need. Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 25. He told the sheep on the right that they'd receive a reward for helping Him in a time of need. They asked, "When did we do this?" Jesus replied, "As you have done unto these, you have done unto me."
Brothers and sisters let us take counsel and heed the Word. We are all broken, but, God can remake us. Let us allow Him to do His work, by filling us with His love. Only, then, will we truly love others.