a pot at odds with the potter | Isaiah 45.8-10
“Open up, heavens, and rain.
Clouds, pour out buckets of my goodness!
Loosen up, earth, and bloom salvation;
sprout right living.
I, God, generate all this.
But doom to you who fight your Maker—
you’re a pot at odds with the potter!
Does clay talk back to the potter:
‘What are you doing? What clumsy fingers!’
Thus God, The Holy of Israel, Israel’s Maker, says:
“Do you question who or what I’m making?
Are you telling me what I can or cannot do? ” Isaiah 45:8-10 | NLT
So here’s the irony. Humanity is the one hands-on act of creation. Everything else was spoken into existence, but we are formed with his hands. And we have ended up being the one thing in creation that has grieved him the most. Another Zornberg quote to spin on the wheel of your spirit:
Quite different is the imagery of the potter and his clay (or the baker and his dough). For here, the midrash (teaching commentary) dares to make a statement about the Frankensteinian nature of all creation. True, the potter has total control of his material. As in the famous image in Jeremiah 18, “if the vessel he was making with clay in the potter’s hands was spoiled, he would make it into another vessel, such as the potter saw fit to make.” Like God, the potter “sees” and “makes.” But there is another truth in the relationship of potter and clay. Here is the surprise, rather than the inevitability of God’s power. In all creative work, there is a play between the artist and his material. The characters of the novel begin to talk back, to declare their own reality and destiny.
One gets a sense in the creation story that everything moves in the rhythm of its own creation – except for humanity. We reach – or more precisely, we over-reach, over-bite – reaching for what we are not ready for, trying to “be like gods” on our own initiative, in our own time. “Why have you made me thus? What clumsy fingers!” Art at odds with the artist. The artist flummoxed with his artwork. It’s an absurd picture: the pot at odds with the potter, giving him a good talking to about his style and skill.
And we do it nearly every day.
When have you felt at odds with the Potter? What happened? How was the debate resolved in you?
Holy Potter, forgive me when I forget Whom is molding and shaping whom. Thank you for the way you continue to shape me during such times of arrogance and ignorance. Thank you for continuing to spin the wheel and the clay that is me. Through Jesus.