we are the clay | Isaiah 64.8
Yet, O Lord,
You are our Father.
We are the clay,
You are the Potter;
We are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8 | ESV
At the time God made Earth and Heaven, before any grasses or shrubs had sprouted from the ground—God hadn’t yet sent rain on Earth, nor was there anyone around to work the ground (the whole Earth was watered by underground springs)—God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive—a living soul! Genesis 2:5-7 | MSG
“Here it is the image of molding man that is arresting. Man alone in creation is described as formed out of a clammy combination of earth and water. ‘A flow would well up from the ground and water the whole surface of the earth’…For the purpose of creating man, the depths released a vapor that seeded the clouds and moistened the dust, so that man was created – like this baker, who adds water to his dough and then kneads it! So here, first there was a moistening, and then ‘God formed man’…Everything else was created by an act of speech; only man was created with the hands of God, as it is said, ‘You placed Your hands upon me’ (Psalm 139:5).”
These are comments by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg in her commentary of sorts on Genesis entitled The Beginning of Desire. All these years reading and repeating the Genesis story, and it never popped out at me until my eyes glanced across Avivah’s words.
Humanity is the one part of creation formed not by Divine fiat, but by the Divine hand. Humanity is a hands-on creation. Even in the womb, he still knits us together. We are not machine processed but handmade. Man with clammy dirt, woman with the even sterner stuff of bone.
What huge implications await us in this!
He didn’t merely think about us or issue the order that resulted in our existence. “You placed your hands upon me.” Personal rather than impersonal. Intentional, distinctive, unique, purposed.
Yes, huge implications.
This week we go to the Potter’s House and as we watch his work we have (hopefully) the life-changing epiphany that we are his work. More than that, his hands are upon us still, forming and shaping us.
Think on that…
What are some of the implications you see in the fact that we are shaped by his hands? Do you find the image of God as potter, us as clay to be intimidating? empowering? comforting? Or what? Why?
Divine Potter, deliver me from any notion that I am self-made – or merely the by-product of an impersonal divine machine. Remind me that your hands on are me. Give me the grace and wisdom to surrender myself to the making and remaking. Through Christ.