Do you turn things upside down?
You turn things upside down as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! – Isaiah 29:16
13 And so the Lord says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.
14 Because of this, I will once again astound these hypocrites with amazing wonders. The wisdom of the wise will pass away, and the intelligence of the intelligent will disappear.”
15 What sorrow awaits those who try to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their evil deeds in the dark! “The LORD can’t see us,” they say. “He doesn’t know what’s going on!”
16 How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”?
Potters are skilled artisans who specialize in creating pottery by using clay and other materials to form functional or decorative objects, such as bowls, plates, vases, and other types of vessels. As artists, they make various decisions throughout their creative process, including selecting the type of clay, tools, shape, color, and finish of the final product.
For instance, potters must carefully consider the type of clay they use as it impacts the final product’s properties, including color, texture, and plasticity. They also have to decide on the shape of the object they want to create and employ different techniques, such as a pottery wheel or hand-building techniques like coiling, slabbing, or pinching to shape the clay.
Ultimately, every decision potters make plays a vital role in their creation. They have the final say in the ultimate design and function of each object they produce. Of course, this reality is well known in the old and New Testament cultures, where pottery was an everyday part of life.
It would be totally absurd for people to think that the inert clay had a choice in any decision-making process. This fact is the basis for the teaching of Isaiah and Jeremiah and Paul’s writing, which alludes to them.
People are likened to the clay from which vessels are produced. The vessels themselves have different purposes and destinies according to the Father’s design.
Isaiah 64:8 O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand.
Putting it in other terms, some guidelines and methods regarding potters and clay have been in place for thousands of years .regarding potters and clay.
2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.”
3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel.
4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.
5 Then the LORD gave me this message:
6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.
This word picture is worth a thousand words. But the apostle Paul only requires a few to get his point across. Paul describes the Father as a potter Who has the right to do what He wishes with His creation. Paul does not go into depth regarding the tension that exists between human free will and divine sovereignty. He asserts that the conflict between free will and divine sovereignty is resolved upon recognizing that the Father has the right to make choices, but people do not (ESV notes). The Father made such choices before the foundation of the world before any people were created.
Romans 9:21 When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for honorable use and another for common use?
In this context, the honorable and dishonorable vessels represent those who are saved and unsaved (ESV notes).
REFLECT & PRAY
Isaiah 29:16 How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, “He didn’t make me”? Does a jar ever say, “The potter who made me is stupid”?
Father what serenity, peace, and confidence overflow my spirit and soul when I recognize that You are the Potter and I am not. You are loving and all-knowing. You never make mistakes. I put my complete confidence and trust in You because I am limited and make many mistakes.
The relationship between the potter and the clay is part of the natural order of the world or SOP in which we live. Potters make pots. Pots do nothing because they are inert.
Paul warns that in the last days, the natural order of things will be turned upside down.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days, there will be very difficult times.
2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.
3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.
4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.
5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.
2 Timothy 3:1-4 “is one of the most terrible pictures in the New Testament of what a godless world would be like, with the terrible qualities of godlessness set out in a ghastly list” (Barclay).
The Greek word translated as difficult is chalepos. In the New Testament, chalepos is used only twice. Matthew 8:28 indicates the vicious ferocity of the two demoniacs from the country of the Gadarenes. 2 Timothy 3:1 describes the Zeitgeist, the character and essence of the age which marks the last days. The days will be so horrendous; they are difficult to endure, troublesome, dangerous, harsh, fierce, and savage.
2 Timothy 3:2 For people will love only themselves
The Greek term phílautos , which translates as love only themselves, comes from phílos – loving and autos – self. It signifies Self-centered love, self-importance, or self-love. In other words, people who are phílautos are utterly self-centered and prioritize their own interests above everything else. This self-love could lead to narcissistic egotism, which is prevalent in modern society and may be predictive of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
In contrast, the children of the King have an entirely different focus. Their priorities are opposed. They put the Father first. They are lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:4). The Greek word translated as lovers of God is philotheos. Philotheos is derived from Philos – loving and theos – God. This term could be rendered God-lovers.
Thus, while “phílautos” represents self-love and self-centeredness, philotheos represents a love for the Father. Those who love the Father change their priorities. Accomplishing the will of the Father becomes numero uno. Living to accomplish His will is their highest priority. The difference in orientation between these two groups of people (the phílautos and the philotheos) is stark and has significant implications for their attitudes, perspectives, choices, and actions.
As children of the King, we are to rest in the reality of a loving Father, Who, as a potter, has intelligently designed us to be and do whatever He desires.
Do you turn things upside down?
© Dr. H 2023
One thought on “Do you turn things upside down?”
Thank You Holy Spirit for using Your Servant in writing these words today….
“ Those who love the Father change their priorities. Accomplishing the will of the Father becomes numero uno. Living to accomplish His will is their highest priority.”