““Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.””– Jeremiah 18:6 (NASB)
Potter’s clay has no plans of its own. Sitting as a lump on the potter’s wheel it has no aspirations for service nor reluctance to perform its given task. It’s simply clay. Moldable, pliable, totally submissive to the will of the potter. Do we sometimes become excited and say or think, “I’ve discovered my strengths and gifts and now I know how I can serve God best.” Or, perhaps there are times that we see our failings and we might say or think, “My weaknesses are so great I know what tasks I’m not capable of doing in service to God.” This isn’t a characteristic of clay and God isn’t limited to use only our strengths. He can use our weaknesses if he chooses to. God knows us and he will shape and form us in love to be the people to do what he gives us to do. God doesn’t need us to be perfect or in condition. He needs us to be humble and submissive to do His will. We are like clay in His hands just as Israel was described in our verse. Trust today that God promises to use us perfectly for His will.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)
It is a true statement and worthy to be learned. “God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble,” (Proverbs 3:34; Matthew 23:12; James 4:10). As we are told by the Apostle Paul in Philippians “be anxious for nothing,” here Peter tells us to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.” This is an Old Testament symbol of the power of God working in the experience of men, always accomplishing His sovereign purpose. But humility can cause anxiety. Peter also tells us what to do with our anxiety – get rid of it! Cast it ALL on Him! This is a good practice to follow and we have a good reason we can trust it – He cares for us. How wonderful it is to know that we have a heavenly Father who cares and knows that we have special concerns. We stumble and fall because of our worry but He is always there to help us up. Our Lord tells us here to turn to him and turn those cares over to Him. Transfer the anxious thoughts and worries from your ledger to His ledger. Then observe how much He cares for you and me. He truly does, it’s a promise.
“For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.” – Psalm 138:6-7 (ESV)
It is wisdom to take God’s word to heart and to know that we will have times that our lives will be visited with trouble. Faith believers will know curses and abuse because we profess the name of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. David, the author of this psalm knew about this. In this psalm he expresses how the LORD should be praised. He is on high, but he looks to the lowly, not to the proud. Even in time of trouble, we trust God to preserve our life if it is His will – that is what David says here. The promise is that we can trust God for the protection even in the most extreme situations. Our circumstances may not be exactly what David faced and was writing about in this psalm but the promise is there for us if we ever do. The use of the term “right hand” here as in many other places is a figure of speech that represents God’s ultimate power and authority. The right hand of God is a symbol of power. It is also a symbol of His presence. God’s right hand is our life support (Isaiah 41:10).
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV)
So, how are you doing with the task of humbling yourself? Not easy is it. Sort of like we pray for patience and immediately we encounter a circumstance where patience is needed. It doesn’t take long to fall like that. Pride is the same. If we want to give up pride, we must accept being humbled by circumstances and people. It can be a pretty bitter pill to swallow. Successful at humility comes from God and submitting to His leading. As we allow ourselves to accept opportunities for humility, we do so under the might of God’s hand. He is able to give us all that we need to swallow pride and give up all our self-needed sufficiency. At the proper time (which is God’s time, not ours) God will exalt us by manifesting Himself through us. People will see His work in our lives, not our own efforts. When they comment on such times, we give credit and glory to God. Our other promise is: God cares for us so much that he is willing to take on all things we worry about. We do not have to worry because He cares and takes care of us.
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;.” Isaiah 59:1 (ESV)
Does it sometimes seem like our requests to God are not heard or perhaps not important enough for His attention? These words from the prophet Isaiah it this verse can help us remember God’s ability to help His followers and His desire to help them. God gave these words to remind his people in Isaiah’s time that if they did not experience God’s help it was not because he was deaf or unable to, it was not His fault. As we read the next few verses we learn that it was the sin of the people that caused God to not hear and to hide His face from them. God wants us to know that He was able to help then and He is able to help now. Nothing is so separated from God that He cannot reach it and he is able to hear when we ask for help. But we must live our lives according to God’s commandments. When we do we find our God is listening and hears our call. His ear is turned in our direction waiting for us to express our prayers to Him. God will intercede for us.