The Potter and the Clay

By

Shelby G. Floyd

One of the earliest inventions and crafts, known in the history of man, is that of the potter’s wheel:

“Another important invention was the potter’s wheel. Earlier, men had fashioned pots by molding or coiling clay by hand, but with the potter’s wheel, men could turn out a symmetrical product in a much shorter time…Although none of these ancient wooden potter’s wheels have survived, examples made of clay and stone have been excavated. The oldest, found at Ur in the lower Euphrates Valley, has been dated around 3250 B.C. Potters wheels were used in Syria and Palestine around 3000 B.C., in Egypt some 250 years later, in India before 2500 B.C. and in Greece about 1800 B.C. On the other hand, they did not appear in England until approximately 50 B.C. and in the Americas until 1550 A. D.” –Civilization Past and Present, Volume 1, Wallbank-Taylor, page 35.

In a hymn book we have a song titled, “Have Thine Own Way, Lord” which includes these beautiful words,

Have Thine Own Way Lord!
Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter; I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

By a figure of speech, the words of this song, compares God to the potter, and his people to the clay. If we yield to his will, like a potter he can mold us and make us a vessel of honor; but if we refuse his word, we can mar like clay in his hands, and fit ourselves as vessels of destruction and wrath.

The figure of speech of the potter and clay as applied to God and his people is found several times in both the Old and New Testaments. But the application of this figure of speech is nowhere made plainer than in the book Jeremiah, where we read of Jeremiah being sent by divine direction, down to the potter’s house to observe an object lesson. Continue reading “The Potter and the Clay”