We have a four-month old, solid Black, registered Pug named Chi. He is a friendly, loving puppy whose philosophy of life would likely be, “Take time to stop and smell the roses. And when no one is looking, eat the roses.”
While he isn’t malicious, Chi has a little problem with rules. Often his exuberance for life leads him to forget what he is supposed to be doing. He will eat or drag into his box about anything he can get his teeth on.
When we take a puppy and try to train them to obey the rules of the house, we must be patient with their weaknesses. Their instruction becomes all consuming because of their boundless energy. We must keep reminding ourselves that they are babies.
We hope Chi will grow and put his immature ways behind him and understand what is expected of him. If so, he will be a blessing.
In Jeremiah 18:1-10, God takes Jeremiah to the house of a potter to watch him work. God says, “‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?’ says the Lord. ‘Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!'” (Jeremiah 18:6, NKJV). He continues by pointing out that he can create or destroy whomever he wishes (Jeremiah 18:7-10).
God is all powerful and possesses the power of life or death (Isaiah 40:15-24). While God’s longsuffering is beyond human comprehension (Exodus 34:6), he nonetheless demands obedience (Isaiah 8:11-22). He has that right because of his omniscience (1 John 3:20). He knows all that is good or bad and always desires the best for his creation.
In Isaiah 55, God enumerates the bountiful blessings God has in store for Israel. They would find abundance beyond all human comprehension. But this was contingent on their faithfulness.
If they placed themselves in his hands, God would shape them with the skilled hands of a master potter. He would make them something better than they could ever be on their own.
Israel’s future, though, would not be very pleasant if they rebelled against God. In Jeremiah 19, we read of their terrible fate. God had tried to shape them and they had turned against him. He tells Jeremiah to shatter a flask and say, “Even so I will break a potter’s vessel, which cannot be made whole again; and they shall bury them in Tophet till there is no place to bury” (Jeremiah 19:11). God said their land would be called the “Valley of Slaughter” because they refused to obey his will (Jeremiah 19:6).
In the Christian age, the Lord has not changed. Christ still demands obedience because he knows what is best for us (John 14:15). There will still be extraordinary blessings for those in Christ and spiritual danger for those outside of him (Luke 13:3,5).
We must place ourselves in his hands so that he can mold us and shape us into something beautiful (Ephesians 3:14-19).
Chi will grow up and, hopefully, become more compliant and trainable. If so, he can become a wonderful pet. Or, he can refuse and become an angry, intolerable cur that no one wants to be around. It will all depend on his submission to those who have his best interest at heart.
It is no different with man and God. We must “humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord [so he can] lift [us] up” (James 4:10). And when we submit and allow ourslves to be lifted up, we will become shining lights to all those around us bringing glory to God (Matthew 5:14-16; Ephesians 3:20,21).
Will we resist God or submit to him?