Forming the Clay: We are His Works on the Wheel

In the book of Jeremiah, the prophet records an event where God sends him to potter’s house. During this metaphoric observation, the nation of Israel is likened to clay that needs to be formed. Our nations also are works on the potter’s wheel; His desire is to shape us into the vessels of honor as well.

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, House of Israel, can’t I do with you as this potter? says the Lord. Behold, as the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, house of Israel. Jeremiah 18: 6

What happened before the clay made it to the wheel? 
Upon Jeremiah’s arrival, the potter begins to mold the material into a product according to the Master’s will and imagination. The clay’s pre-state is not mentioned. Since pottery making was a common occupation, we can expect the clay had been prepared before its placement on the wheel.

Preparation precedes Process
When the material has been properly prepared it is ready to be placed on the foundation of the wheel. The potter’s expectation for the finished product is not unreasonable. But, there is a caveat; preparation always precedes process.


  1. Remove air bubbles.
  2. Knead or roll the clay to keep it workable.
  3. Keep the clay moist so it does not dry out.

Ready for Use

  1. The clay is rolled into a ball shape and “thrown” to the center of the potter’s wheel.

If the clay is not centered, it will be off balance, and the clay will “fight” during the forming process.

God is intentional in purpose for likening the nation of Israel to clay. Clay is found in the layers under the earth’s crust. We paint a similar picture; our true thoughts and intent are often kept under the surface of the image we want to portray to others. As individuals that comprise our nations often pride, greed and the lure of power drive us rather than concern for our fellow citizens.

 4 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. Jeremiah 18:4

The potter's skill or mastery was not at fault. Imperfections added to the clay influenced the outcome. God knows all He created was good; our actions have flawed nations with sin.

God used the potter and the clay to illustrate a national condition. Israel, much like our nations, no longer reflected the will or image of the Father. Disfigured from its original intent, the vessel had to be re-formed.

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

Reflection: “We must find the courage to address what kind of nation we want to be…” Tavis Smiley

We must create self-fulfilling prophecies based upon visions of a future time and sync our behavior with our belief. Let us partner in prayer for proactive measures that cause Him to re-form us as a people and a nation.