I. JEHOVAH AS THE SOVEREIGN POTTER
Jeremiah 18:1-10 reveals Jehovah as the sovereign Potter, the One with the absolute right over His pottery.
A. The Potter Working and Reworking the Pottery
Jehovah told Jeremiah to go down to the potter’s house (vv. 1-2). Jeremiah saw that the potter was working and reworking the pottery at his wheel into another vessel, as it seemed good for him to make (vv. 3-4). This indicates that the potter has the full right to do whatever he desires with the clay.
B. Jehovah as the Sovereign Potter
Being Able to Do with the House of Israel,
as the Clay in His Hand, in Changeable Ways
Jehovah as the sovereign Potter is able to do with the house of Israel, as the clay in His hand, in changeable ways according to Israel’s condition (vv. 6-10). Verse 6 says, "Am I not able to do with you, O house of Israel, as this potter does? declares Jehovah. Behold, as the clay is in the hand of the potter, so you are in My hand, O house of Israel." This word to Israel was also a word to the prophet, a word that would clear up his concept. Jehovah seemed to be saying to Jeremiah, "Do not hinder Me from doing whatever I will to do with the house of Israel. Israel is clay in My hand, and I deal with them in changeable ways. Depending on their condition, I can punish them or exalt them."
II. THE EVIL CONDITION OF ISRAEL
Verses 11 through 23 speak of the evil condition of Israel. This word was God’s further vindication of Himself to Jeremiah. Although God had the full right, He would not punish Israel in a way that was unfitting. Here Jehovah seemed to be telling Jeremiah, "I am not unwise in dealing with Israel, and neither am I doing something that is not fitting. Look at Israel’s condition. If you consider their condition, you will agree with Me that they need to be punished."
A. Not Returning and Amending Her Ways
Israel did not return and amend her ways but walked after her own devices and did according to the stubbornness of her evil heart (vv. 11b-12). This is God’s vindication of Himself in light of Israel’s evil condition.
B. Having Forgotten Jehovah,
Burning Incense to Vanity
As a virgin she did a very horrible thing—forgetting Jehovah and burning incense to vanity, to idols (vv. 13-15a). She had been a virgin betrothed to Jehovah, but she forsook Him, the reality as her fiancé, and turned to idols, which are vanity.
(Life-Study of Jeremiah and Lamentations, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)