We Are the Clay, and Thou Our Potter

Isaiah 64

There are several verses from this chapter that are already familiar to me:

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

Verse 4

But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

Verse 8

Isaiah offers this chapter as a prayer of the Saints, who are anticipating the Second Coming of the Lord. From the perspective of a praying saint, there is humility and contrition in these words; an acknowledgement of man’s absolute dependence upon God.

I have spent another morning reading these verses. I find deeper meaning in these verses this morning, especially understanding the perspective from which Isaiah is taking. We are the clay in the hands of the potter. What a powerful image is this. Hands dirty, interactive, molding, shaping, guiding us into better things than what we would otherwise become.

I am spending another day with this chapter, because there is more here. This is a prayer and at no point in this prayer does Isaiah take license to put a saint in any where on the spectrum of discipleship except at the very beginning of the path. “We all are as the unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses as filthy rags.” Only when talking to God about God does Isaiah acknowledge any goodness at all.

This is a very interesting and compelling position to take; A very uncomfortable position to take; and yet a very right or correct position to look at humanity.

“And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee:”

A Terrible Thing

In verse 3 there is a reference to “terrible things” which the Lord will do before his Second Coming. Moses, in Exodus 34 also makes reference to “a terrible thing”. Though the Spanish translation on Exodus, changes the word “terrible” to “amazing” (cosa asombrosa).

Isaiah goes on to qualify it as something “which we looked not for”. I suspect then that this is something that hasn’t been articulated elsewhere in scripture, nor may not be spelled anywhere, until it happens.

In close association with these “terrible things” is the flowing down of the mountains. It is mentioned in the prayer that is put up in verse 1. It is again mentioned in verse 3.

Thought it is hardly noted in this study, my journal entries and prayers that have happened during this same time period capture more fully the impact of this particular chapter on me. This chapter has been for me one of the most transformative chapters yet experienced in Isaiah. Things are not as they seem.

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