The potter’s house was in the valley at the base of Mt. Sinai and Jerusalem. They dug clay out of the earth there.
Jeremiah 18:1-3 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house…he wrought a work on the wheels.
There are two potter’s wheels, a large one at the base and a smaller one at the top that are connected. They move together when the potter pushes a peddle to make a vessel that is useful to him. The clay the potter started with had to be cleaned after it was dug from the earth and he added a lot of water to make it flexible. God digs us out of the miry earth of sin. He adds a lot of water by the word of God to clean us up and make us moldable, to make us what he can use. The potter found the vessel was marred, so he made it over. If a stone was in the clay, it had to be removed. God doesn’t throw away the clay but gets rid of the impurities (attitudes, personality characteristics he can’t use), so he can mold us.
Jeremiah 18:4-6 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred…so he made it again…as seemed good…Then the word of the Lord…cannot I do with you as this potter…as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand…
The clay doesn’t make the vessel. The potter is in full control and the clay has no say. God wants us to be completely submitted into his hand. When the vessel is fired at 2000 degrees, it will break if there are imperfections in the clay. The potter throws the vessel away because he can’t use it. If we break in the fiery furnace because of impurity or sin, God can’t use us. We have to be 100% submitted to God’s will for us. He never asks us too much to do.
I Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Uzziah did right and reigned 52 years, but got lifted in pride when he was old. He offered sacrifice in the temple, but it was to be done only by priests. They tried to stop him but he went ahead. He broke out in leprosy so his son had to take over (II Chronicles 26:16-21). Uzziah’s grandson Ahaz did evil. He burned his children in fire at the valley of the son of Hinnom (where the potters dug clay for pottery). He closed the temple, destroyed the temple vessels, and did everything wrong.
II Chronicles 28:1-4 Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem: but he did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord, like David his father: For he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim. Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen…He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places…
II Chronicles 28:23-25 For he sacrificed unto the gods of Damascus…he said, Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore will I sacrifice to them, that they may help me. But they were the ruin of him…Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels…and shut up the doors of the house of the Lord, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem. And…places to burn incense unto other gods, and provoked to anger the Lord…
Ahaz’s grandson Hezekiah did right. He was like clay and was willing to be molded by God, to do what God wanted.
II Chronicles 29:2-11 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. He in the first year of his reign…opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them. And he brought in the priests and the Levites…said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord…carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord our God, and have forsaken him…Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings…Wherefore the wrath of the Lord was upon Judah and Jerusalem, and he hath delivered them to trouble…For, lo, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this. Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the Lord…that his fierce wrath may turn away…be not now negligent: for the Lord hath chosen…ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.
The priests were to offer a lamb every morning and every night continually, while Aaron was supposed to offer incense and be sure the lamps had oil. It was done twice a day. Incense is like our prayers that should be offered continually.
Exodus 29:28-46…thou shalt offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even…an offering made by fire unto the Lord. This shall be a continual burnt offering…I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify…Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest’s office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord…that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them…
It took eight days to clean the garbage out of the temple and eight days to cleanse it. It takes time to clean up our life too.
II Chronicles 29:16-17 And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the Lord, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness…found in the temple of the Lord…And the Levites took it, to carry it out abroad into the brook Kidron. …so they sanctified the house of the Lord in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end.
It took a while to offer the offerings, but the people didn’t complain. They were singing praises to God, playing instruments, and worshipping while the offering was burned. They wanted to be clay in God’s hands and do what he wanted. They were excited to be able to worship. We need to worship every day and have a heart of worship all the time. If we aren’t worshipping because of something we haven’t submitted to God, we won’t be offering thanksgiving offerings. We need to tell people we’re thankful and let others know there’s joy in our hearts for what God has done.
II Chronicles 29:25-30 And he set the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, with psalteries…harps, according to the commandment of David…Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord began also with the trumpets, and…instruments ordained by David…And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded…until the burnt offering was finished…And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped.
There weren’t enough priests to do all the offerings so the Levites helped. God prepared the people like clay in his hands.
II Chronicles 29:32-36 And the number of the burnt offerings…brought, was threescore and ten bullocks, an hundred rams, and two hundred lambs: all these were for a burnt offering to the Lord. And the consecrated things were six hundred oxen and three thousand sheep. But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt offerings: wherefore their brethren the Levites did help…And also the burnt offerings were in abundance…So the service of the house of the Lord was set in order. And Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, that God had prepared the people…
A multitude of Assyrians came against Judah, but Hezekiah encouraged the people that God was with them. The Assyrians only had an arm of flesh but God was with them to fight their battles.
II Chronicles 32:6-8 And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them…and spake comfortably to them, saying, Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
The enemy mocked them, tried to discourage them, and came to war against them. God sent an angel to help them and that killed 185,000 of the Assyrians. When that king went home in shame, his own family killed him.
II Chronicles 32:20-21 And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah…prayed and cried to heaven. And the Lord sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains…of Assyria. So he returned with shame…to his own land. And…they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword.
After that Hezekiah was sick and about to die but God extended his life. When he was healed, he didn’t give God praise or thank him and he got lifted up. God was angry and Hezekiah humbled himself. We can’t think we can fight our own battles or that we’re doing things on our own. We need to stay humble and to be like clay in God’s (the potter) hands.
II Chronicles 32:25-26 But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart…so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)