By Jim Anderson

What we do with our vessel-shaped bodies will either expand or constrict the presence of God through our lives to others. It is not a question of whether God dwells with believers. It is a question of capacity. How much room for the excellent treasure of God's presence have we permitted to occupy our vessels? Have we cooperated with God's plan to make much room for him in our lives, or have we resisted the inner work of God in our lives?

The illustration of a potter working with clay comes to mind from Isaiah. The potter seeks to turn a heavy, thick-walled goblet into a light, thin-walled delicate cup with far greater capacity to hold delightful contents. In fact, that is a pretty accurate portrait of several verses in Isaiah: 

You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, "He did not make me"; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, "He has no understanding"? (Isaiah 29:16-ESV)   

"Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, 'What are you making?' or 'Your work has no handles'? (Isaiah 45:9)   

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)   

Isaiah 29:16 expresses denial that there is a potter that has had a hand in the making of the clay vessel. More seriously, the Lord is saying to his people, "You deny that I created you and act like you are self-made beings without a Maker."

Isaiah 45.9 expresses resistance to the potter's plan to make something useful out of the clay. Once again, God is using clay as an object lesson. He really wants total cooperation from people who would rather be as obstinate as hardened lumps of clay.

Isaiah 64:8 is a prayer expressing full cooperation by those who want nothing less than to be formed into vessels with the greatest possible capacity for God's presence and purpose.

Prayerfully ask yourself these questions:                                                                                         

  • Which passage in Isaiah best portrays my readiness to be molded by God?
  • Is Isaiah 64:8 my prayer? Or am I resisting the Divine Potter, wanting to be "self-made," bitter about the way he made me and/or the hands he uses to shape me?
  • Am I willing to yield to the Divine Potter at any cost to me, that I might be most pleasure-filled and useful to him?
  • Am I ready to surrender to the Potter's plan and molding process, making Isaiah 64:8 my prayer?