“God highly exalted (Jesus) and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— in heaven and on earth and under the earth— and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11, CSB).
The names and titles of our Lord are beautifully descriptive of His character and His ways. Certainly, the names of God are worthy of our consideration and study! Indeed, the mere mention of His great name should compel us to reverent worship!
So, let’s look at another of His glorious names...
“O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8, ESV).
Have you ever watched a potter working at his wheel? With strong hands, the potter grabs the lump of clay, raises it, and plops it down into the center of the spinning wheel. Fashioning and forming, applying pressure, stretching, molding and making, sometimes remolding and remaking, then with his tender and skilled touch, the envisioned product begins to emerge. Once the potter has formed and fashioned, he takes the piece and places it into his kiln, where under extreme heat, the product is hardened, making it useful for the potter’s purposes.
The clay is muddy and damp when the potter begins. It’s just clay, a glob of goo, a mushy mess of wet dirt. It’s nasty. It’s formless and useless. That is, it’s useless to everyone except the potter.
Now think about this... What does the lump of clay do? Does it demand that the potter squeeze here or pull there? Would it mandate its own ultimate outcome? “I want to become a salad bowl!” No! The clay is only useful when it submits to the potter’s desire and design.
The potter! He is creative and envisions the grand possibilities. He doesn’t just see the clay... He sees what the clay can become and knows how the final product can serve his purposes. He’s patient as he sits at the wheel. He knows where to apply pressure. He knows when to stretch and pull. He knows when to turn up the heat.
Isaiah was right, of course. I’m like clay. Useless, except to the potter. Useful, only when submitted to the Creator’s design.
I don’t think that Paul was thinking about the potter/clay analogy when he penned his letter to Ephesus. But consider what he said: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10, ESV).
By His great grace, we become His perfect workmanship. Workmanship... that could be translated “masterpiece.” We become the Potter’s masterpiece, when we, a lump of clay, surrender and submit, by faith.