What Kind of Vessel Are You?

In Jer. 18:1-10 God told the prophet to observe the potter’s work with clay. He made a comparison between what a potter does with clay and how God sought to shape His people. This joins with other passages that compare us to vessels fashioned at the potter’s wheel. What kind of vessel are you?

In Rom. 9:21 the Bible says, “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” Some vessels are honorable and some are dishonorable. Some may conclude the vessel’s nature is entirely up to God’s choosing. After all, in the same context [Rom. 9:18] we find, “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” Does this teach that God hardens some into vessels of dishonor while He mercifully crafts others into vessels of honor? Is the choice entirely in God’s hands or do our choices come into play?

The context of Romans 9 talks about Pharaoh as an example of the principle. Did God harden Pharaoh totally independent of Pharaoh’s choices or did Pharaoh participate in the process? In Exo. 9:34 the Bible says, “And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.” God was good to Pharaoh in ceasing the plague, giving Pharaoh a chance to repent. Pharaoh responded by making a choice, a sinful choice; he hardened his heart against God.

Pharaoh made a sinful choice and the Bible is very clear what sin does to us. Heb. 3:13 says, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” God eased the plague and put a choice before Pharaoh; in this manner God participated in the hardening process. Pharaoh made a choice of his own free will to reject God [Exo. 5:2]. With each repetition of that sinful choice his heart became more hardened; in this manner Pharaoh participated in the hardening process.

Pharaoh made choices that determined what kind of vessel he was. We find the same in Jer. 18:11 NKJV as God appealed to Israel to repent. “Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.” In the same context where God talked about being the potter at the wheel He challenged the clay to make choices, to yield to the potter’s influence. And so we must choose today what kind of vessel we will be.

In II Tim. 2:20-21 the Bible says, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. 21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” If we want to be that honorable vessel we must choose to purge ourselves from sin so that we don’t become hardened. We choose what kind of vessel to be; what kind of vessel are you?

David Earl Minson – Lubbock, TX


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