Jeremiah 18: God Says, “Go See a Potter With Some Clay and Learn About Me and You.”

(23 verses, 2:34 to read)


What I’m about to READ

  • Jeremiah is asked to visit a potter with clay in his hands to learn about God and His Israel.


  • 1-11: After Jeremiah arrives at the potter’s house and sees the potter reworking a spoiled piece of clay into something good, the Word of the Lord came to him, ““O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”  The is declaring two options for the house of Israel.  1.) Repent and I will shape good out of the evil you have done or 2.) If you will continue to not listen, I will instead shape evil against you.
  • 12-17: As ridiculous it is to imagine a piece of clay mocking the molder, so Israel speaks back to God.  The Lord knows what their response will be. “12 “That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’
    • The questions asked in vs. 14 seem to be saying something like, “Has God ever failed you?  Has He ever stopped being an ever flowing fountain of mercy, grace, and blessing?  As it has always snowed in the mountains of Lebanon and as that snow, when melted, has always fed into a stream of fresh and living water, so God will always and cyclically be your source of blessing.”  Yet, the people have forgotten Him (15).  Thus, set on following their own desires and plans, they will be given over to destruction
  • 18-23: The people then declare they will despise Jeremiah’s word, assuming God will continue to be with them in blessing as long as they have law and prophets.  Whose law and prophets are they, though?  The ones of their own choosing.  Finally, the reading closes as Jeremiah prays and commits them to God for judgment.


  • “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.” O, Lord, you know the works of my hands.  I do not have “clean hands or a pure heart” (Psalm 24:4).  Like my father Adam, I have too often reached out my hand for that which is not good for me.  I also have too often looked to my own hands and hands of Your creation to provide for me and my family.  Help me to confess that I am the clay and You are the potter, that You are my God, and that I am a part of those that are “the people of [Your] pasture, and the sheep of [Your] hand (Psalm 95:7).”  Forgive me for the sake of He of Whom this is spoken of: “16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet(Psalm 22)” and “16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands (Isaiah 49).”  How could I think you have forgotten me?  How could I think that Your Word of Law and Gospel is not for my good?  It is good to be clay when I am Your clay and in Your hands.  Grant to me faith that believes Your promise, “13 For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you (Isaiah 41).”  As Your Son is seated at Your right hand, He has in His hand the “seven stars,” that is, the very angels that protect the Holy, Christian Church (Rev. 1:16, 20).  Thus, in faith, I pray, commending all things to You, the very prayer my Lord Jesus prayed from the cross, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Psalm 31:5; Luke 23:46)” for indeed, You are the potter and I am the clay.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: or if reading on facebook, check out the blog:

Christopher Stout, Pastor of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Kannapolis, NC & Abundant Life Lutheran Church, Charlotte, NC


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