The Potter and the Clay

Isaiah 64:1–12 (NKJV)

64:1 Oh, that You would rend the heavens!
That You would come down!
That the mountains might shake at Your presence—
2 As fire burns brushwood,
As fire causes water to boil—
To make Your name known to Your adversaries,
That the nations may tremble at Your presence!
3 When You did awesome things for which we did not look,
You came down,
The mountains shook at Your presence.
4 For since the beginning of the world
Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
Who acts for the one who waits for Him.
5 You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness,
Who remembers You in Your ways.
You are indeed angry, for we have sinned—
In these ways we continue;
And we need to be saved.

6 But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.
7 And there is no one who calls on Your name,
Who stirs himself up to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us,
And have consumed us because of our iniquities.

Isaiah prays that God would “rend the heavens,” or split the sky.  Come down in your power and vengeance against the adversaries of your people.  This is often a prayer for revival in the church of today.  For Isaiah, it was a real cry for help in the physical realm as well.  He knows that the Jews have done wrong, and need to be saved.  We might pray that same prayer of confession and ask God to come near.  Isaiah further confesses how unrighteous the nation is, even like filthy rags.  He acknowledges that they feel the emptiness and separation from God.

8 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.
9 Do not be furious, O LORD,
Nor remember iniquity forever;
Indeed, please look—we all are Your people!
10 Your holy cities are a wilderness,
Zion is a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation.
11 Our holy and beautiful temple,
Where our fathers praised You,
Is burned up with fire;
And all our pleasant things are laid waste.
12 Will You restrain Yourself because of these things, O LORD?
Will You hold Your peace, and afflict us very severely?

Isaiah moves to a prayer for mercy, a prayer of surrender and submission.  The poignant image of God as the Potter and man as the clay speaks volumes to the need for molding by God in order to be holy.  “We are the work of Your hand.”  That should be our prayer every day.  Mold me into your image.  Let me be shaped by your will.  You are my God.  Will you please forgive, save, and restore us?  The truth, though, is that molding can be uncomfortable, even painful, for it is a process of change and breaking away the ungodly from one’s life.  Are you up for the work of the mighty hand of God in your life?  It can result in a beautiful life!

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