Jeremiah 18:1-11, The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear My words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “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. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in My sight, not listening to My voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.”
When God destroys a nation for the evil it’s done, people are so quick to claim this act of God is wrong. “If God is so good,” they say, “why did He murder millions of people by destroying nations?” They have such a negative view of God’s actions because they erroneously assume God “murdered” these people. I find it interesting that these same people who question why God does nothing to solve our problems are the same people who accuse God of murder or being a hateful God when He does intervene and stops evil by destroying evil people. Their own “logic” fails them.
As God has made clear to Jeremiah that he was to repeat to the people of Israel, as Creator of all that is in the earth and beyond, God can do as He wishes with His creation. What place do we have to question the decisions of our Creator? None whatsoever. It is our own pride that makes us think we can question God’s actions. Our pride was the cause of our Fall, and it is our pride that causes us to think erroneously of God and assume we understand His character when one does not know Him at all.
The potter Jeremiah went to had clay in his hands that was no good, so as its creator he “reworked” it, or remoulded it, into something new. As the potter, he has every right to do this. Likewise, the watchman has every right to take apart a watch and remake it. When something is built wrong and imperfectly, the architect has every right to tear it down and rebuild it anew. In the same way, God has every right as our Creator to do as He wishes with us. In the days of Noah, He destroyed His creation to rid of the ubiquitous evil. More than once God subjected His people to captivity, eventually leaving their Temple Himself. Yet God returns to His people in the Temple: Jesus Christ.
A pot made of clay did not make itself; it was created by an intelligent designer and is always subject to the work and will of its creator. In the same way, we have not made ourselves, and neither do we belong to ourselves. We cannot claim autonomy by making professions such as, “It’s my body, I can do whatever I want with it” because we did not acquire our bodies ourselves and we do not belong to ourselves. We are made in the image of God and we belong to Him; our bodies belong to God. When clay is spoiled, the potter remoulds it into something new and better. To the extent of which we are spoiled in sin and the works of the flesh, God helps remould us into something new and better in Baptism (see Romans 6:1-4). When He chooses to destroy evil, He destroys it all in a given location; but He also promises forgiveness should they repent (see Jonah 3-4). The prophet Jonah went to Nineveh to preach the message of their condemnation, but they repented, and because the Lord is faithful to His promises, He forgave their sins. This angered Jonah, but as Creator the Lord can do as He wishes; it’s not up to Jonah. Likewise, when God establishes a nation with intentions to bless it, but instead they do wicked things in His eyes and refuse to listen to Him (*cough* like America *cough*), He will uproot them.
As Creator, God can do whatever He wants with His creation. If this scares you, maybe it should. Now you know what it’s like to fear the Lord. As Christians, however, we don’t need to live in fear. As He made clear to Jeremiah, God promises forgiveness for unbelievers if they turn from their ways (see Ezekiel 18:23; 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9). As believers, we are secure in Christ (John 10:28-30). Even as sin continues to spoil us, God helps to remould us through the Holy Spirit as He works to sanctify us, which will be complete upon the Day of the Lord.