This is such an enriching scripture for teaching us about hearing God’s voice. For starters, God did not just give Jeremiah His message right where he was. Jeremiah had to take steps of obedience to get to the place where he would hear from God. He loved God enough to obey what God asked of him.
God reserves the privilege of hearing from Him intimately for those who love Him enough to walk in obedience. It was Jeremiah’s obedience — getting up out of his seat and moving to the Potter’s house — that positioned him to hear from God. Loving obedience results in increased communication from God.
Secondly, Jeremiah was entirely dependent on God to hear His message. The wording in this scripture is, “I will cause you to hear My voice.” In the same way, you and I are entirely dependent on God for Him to open our ears. Thankfully, He delights to do so as we take steps that demonstrate our desire to hear from Him. As we do what we know to do in pursuit of relationship with God, we can count on Him to increase our capacity for hearing from Him.
Thirdly, notice that God chose to speak to Jeremiah through a simple visual illustration. Potters working with clay were a mundane part of life in Jeremiah’s context. God pointed out to him a detail of everyday existence, as a symbolic message. He wants to speak to you and me in the same way. All around us in our daily lives are object lessons that the Holy Spirit will rest upon and use as illustrations to speak to our hearts. If we have ears to listen, He has so much to share with us. This is why the Word contains numerous repetitions of the phrase, “Whoever has ears, let them hear” (Matt. 13:9, NIV and many others).
One more thing about this Scripture. God’s message through Jeremiah was an appeal to His people. “Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?’ says the LORD” (Jer. 18:5-6, NKJV).
He calls out to our hearts with this same appeal today. If we have not been living our lives in obedience, posturing ourselves to hear from God, let’s put ourselves like clay into His hands. “And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make” (v. 4). Let’s yield ourselves to Him in surrender, allowing Him to remake us into the shape that brings joy and pleasure to His heart.
Oh Master Potter, have Your way in our lives!
Can you remember a time when God honored your obedience to Him with increased clarity in hearing from Him?