Preface

 

GOD choosing certain people to accomplish HIS desired tasks is at first an acceptable proposition to most people. It seems so logical. I mean, after all, HE is GOD, isnít HE? But as one considers this concept more thoughtfully, it may seem somehow unfair that GOD might favor one person to accomplish certain things but not another. If there is a GOD who is just, surely HE must be equally fair to everyone, right? The intention of this study is to address this very important question. To what extent does the Creator participate in the lives of HIS created?

Unfortunately, these differences between us too often result in jealousies, envies, strife's and even wars. Failing to perceive GOD's purposes and not appreciating the Creatorís ability to justly manage HIS creation, many people begin to regard life as unfair. We notice that some have a green thumb while others can't grow dirt. For some, everything they touch turns to gold, while others seem to all their lives be burdened with money problems. Some are healthy while others are plagued by one sickness after another. Some die in the womb while others smoke and cuss and get drunk and live to be a hundred.

It is tempting to look around at others and wonder "Why don't I have what they have?" or, "Why don't I look like them?" or "Why can't I talk or sing or dance like others?" The world's commerce revolves around getting us to first desire what we don't have. This is the carrot they dangle. Then once we have desired the fruit they offer, we become locked into a course wherein we spend the rest of our lives chasing around the track in an effort to acquire that which someone else is selling.

Was not the death of mankind accomplished in this very way? Eve was offered the one thing she thought she had been denied, "Ye shall be as gods!" the Serpent promised her. Here, "take and eat." Yet in contrast, as John the Baptist was preparing our Lord's way, he commanded his listeners to "Be content with your wages". Likewise, the apostle Paul's exhortation was "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content".

Eve was not content! She was not content to dwell in the paradise of the Garden of Eden. She was not content to stand at Adam's side and share in his dominion over all the Earth. She wanted more. Most of man-kind's miseries are the result of him not being content with what he has. He peers over the fence at what his neighbor has and desires it instead of what he himself has been freely given. He feels something should be his that has been denied him. Here is where many give up on GOD to pursue their own heart. They may pray to GOD for a certain thing, but not about it. They only bring GOD along in case HE might help them acquire what it is they are chasing. As they have already decided to possess some object of their desire, GOD's presence is only additional leverage if perchance they should need it.

But  not all are of the same mold. Some are called to a higher calling. Some are chosen to a more rewarding way. Some are to search for and find a greater treasure then that which "moth and rust doth corrupt". Some are to "esteem the words of his mouth more than their necessary food". Some are to find the way, to knock upon the door, and enter into HIS kingdom. Some are to become the "good ground", so as to bring forth fruit, "some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold".

JEREMIAH 18:2-6 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

As believers, are we not clay molded into different kinds of vessels by the hands of our Maker? GOD has taken a lump of dead clay between HIS fingers and molded into shape a vessel fit for HIS use. HE breathes upon it and impregnates it with HIS word and then dries it in the fiery furnace of life so that when finished it is adequate, "throughly furnished" for its specific task. The vessel is then made "meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work". As Isaiah humbly recognized,  "...O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand" (ISAIAH 64:8).

Even so today, every child born is as "clay in the potter's hand". In this study we will examine why one is fashioned into a vessel of honor, yet another is fashioned into a vessel of dishonor. The Apostle Paul wrote of this fashioning himself, when he wrote the Galatians that "...it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace" (GALATIANS 1:15). Paul didn't become a Christian until he was an adult, yet he recognized that even before his birth GOD was arranging events that were shaping him into a chosen vessel.

Although every experience in life might be managed by the Creator, this does not mean that each creature doesn't exercise freedom of choice to turn to the right hand or to the left. Those choices however are always confined within the parameters GOD has set. Just as one cannot overstep the physical boundaries GOD has confined us to (i.e. gravity and oxygen), neither can we overstep the mental boundaries (i.e. blindness or enlightenment).

In other words, the choices we are confronted with each day are offered to us only as they set within GOD's choices. If GOD has chosen us to a particular way, our journey will be kept within those parameters which our Maker has laid down. If HE so desires to give it, we may acquire an understanding of HIS ways, but we can never squeeze GOD for enlightenment. It only comes as HE decides to distribute it.

Jonah thought he was choosing his own way when he sailed for Tarshish, but GOD's own way for him had been long before established and a great fish returned him to it. As Joseph's brethren thought they were determining their brother's way by selling him off as a slave into Egypt, all had actually been previously arranged by GOD for Joseph to go HIS way. Even as Pharaoh thought his own stubborn choices in regards to Moses demanding the release of the captive Israelites were of his own mind, Scripture reveals that he was actually raised up only to accomplish GOD's purposes. In each case the choices from which they were allowed to choose were not of their own making, but were prearranged by GOD.

GODís design is to arrange a series of events to bring each of HIS vessels to the level of perfection HE requires to accomplish HIS tasks. As the psalmist wrote, GOD "made known his ways unto Moses, [but only] his acts unto the children of Israel" (PSALM 103:7). Moses didn't acquire an understanding of GOD's ways by his own determination, for Samuel declared, "It is the LORD that advanced Moses..." (1 SAMUEL 12:6). GOD chose Moses to various experiences so that the servant could understand the Master's ways, but to the children of Israel HE chose only to reveal HIS acts.

From the comfort and security of his motherís arms to being set adrift in a tiny basket upon the river, GOD was arranging events that would shape Moses' life. From the pleasures of the treasures of Egypt in Pharaohís house to the mountains and deserts of the land of Midian, GOD was ordering Mosesí experiences. From when he spied an Egyptian smiting one of his brethren and therefore slew him, to helping the seven daughters of the priest of Midian, delivering them out of the hand of some shepherds, all was being ordered by GOD. From the bush burned with fire yet not consumed, to the pillar of fire by night, GOD carried Moses along on a string of experiences. Each time, GOD was demonstrating and then reinforcing to Moses HIS ways. As with the bush burned with fire, it was Moses who chose to turn aside and consider, but it was GOD who first placed it in his path.

Even as young David was also prepared for his day against Goliath by "the lion and the bear", so each of GOD's vessels will be prepared for the specific task they are called to accomplish. Many believers wonder how they fit into GOD's family and if there is a purpose for which they were made. What is our place in this holy temple? In what way are we "fitly framed together"? The answer is that we are different vessels with different talents for different uses. The differences between our earthen vessels is so as to accomplish the Creator's various desires.

Some may think that we have gone too far or taken too much from this analogy of the "potter's wheel". They see little in these passages of "chosen vessels". But other passages do tell of them, if they have ears to hear. They tell of a "chosen people", Israel. They tell of a "chosen land", Zion and a "chosen city", Jerusalem. They tell of a "chosen tribe", Judah. Of a "chosen King", David; of a "chosen son", Solomon and a "chosen servant" Yeshua (Jesus). Still other passages tell of "chosen apostles", the Twelve. They speak of a "chosen vessel", Saul of Tarsus; and "chosen witnesses". Peter himself alluded to "chosen vessels" when he declared that "God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe" (ACTS 15:7). In all these examples, they were not chosen because of their will, but because of HIS purposes. HE chose one vessel for one purpose and another for a different purpose.

Chosen Vessels is I think an undeniable reality in Scripture. It is not our place to explain it, or justify it, or even make excuse for it. We seek simply to understand it. The clay is in the potter's hand to do with as HE sees fit. If HE has chosen to "cause us to hear HIS words", it is because HE has a thing to tell us. If HE has chosen to call us to come forth from the tomb, the ball is now in our court, so to speak. We can remain in the grave clothes or we can come forth unto life. Ours is to either answer HIS call or reject it; to walk worthy of HIS calling or to walk away from it. HE offers us choices according to HIS purposes. Which choices we make, determines the shape and function of our vessel.

AMOS 5:8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: the LORD is his name: