What crucial truths are taught from these verses and the symbolism found there? (See Gen. 2:7.)
Because of the constant rejection and persecution that he faced, Jeremiah no doubt wanted to give up. Was it worth struggling and fighting for that nation? At times he certainly felt that the answer was “No!”
No question, though, as he watched the potter’s hand, he was given an image, a symbol, of how the Lord worked with human clay. Whatever other truths are found in the image of the potter and the clay, it does teach the ultimate sovereignty of God. That is, however hopeless the situation might have seemed from Jeremiah’s perspective, the symbolism of the potter and the clay showed him that ultimately, despite the wrong or even willfully wrong decisions that people make, the Lord is in control of the world. He is the absolute source of power and authority, and in the end He will triumph, regardless of appearances now.
Centuries after Jeremiah, Paul picks up on this Old Testament image in Romans 9 and continues with it, basically using it to teach the same lesson that it was to teach Jeremiah. In fact, Paul may even be directly referring to Jeremiah 18:6 in Romans 9:21. We can rest assured that, despite the reality of human free will and free choices, and the often calamitous results of abusing that free will, in the end, we can hope in the absolute sovereignty of our loving and self-sacrificing God, whose love is revealed on the cross. Evil won’t triumph; God and His love will. What a hope we have!
How can you learn to trust in the lesson of the potter and the clay, regardless of present circumstances? What other Bible texts show us the reality of God’s sovereignty?
Adventist Sabbath School Lesson for Adults Q4 2015 «Jeremiah» Lesson 6 – Symbolic Acts