We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8
Considered one of the greatest video games ever made, Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has sold more than seven million copies worldwide. It’s also popularized the ocarina, a tiny, ancient, potato-shaped musical instrument made of clay.
The ocarina doesn’t look like much of a musical instrument. However, when it’s played—by blowing into its mouthpiece and covering various holes around its misshapen body—it produces a strikingly serene and hauntingly hopeful sound.
The ocarina’s maker took a lump of clay, applied pressure and heat to it, and transformed it into an amazing musical instrument. I see a picture of God and us here. Isaiah 64:6, 8–9 tells us: “All of us have become like one who is unclean. . . . Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter. . . . Do not be angry beyond measure.” The prophet was saying: God, You’re in charge. We’re all sinful. Shape us into beautiful instruments for You.
That’s exactly what God does! In His mercy, He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sin, and now He’s shaping and transforming us as we walk in step with His Spirit every day. Just as the ocarina maker’s breath flows through the instrument to produce beautiful music, God works through us—His molded instruments—to accomplish His beautiful will: to be more and more like Jesus (Romans 8:29).
How can knowing that you’re a recipient of God’s mercy affect what you think, say, and do today? How can you submit yourself to His transformation?
Father, thank You for saving me and transforming me so that I’ll become more like Your Son, Jesus. Teach me to submit to Your Spirit’s work of transforming me.
The potter-clay motif is an image used by the prophet Isaiah to depict the strained relationship God had with His people. This metaphor points to a sovereign Creator and submissive creature relationship. As clay, we’re the intricate work of the Father’s hand (Isaiah 64:8). Choosing to go our own way, we reject God’s authority over our lives and “turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!” (29:16). It’s like the pot telling the Potter what to do. Isaiah warns, “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker” (45:9). As our Maker, He has every right to do what He pleases (vv. 10–12). Some sixty years after these words from Isaiah were written, the prophet Jeremiah went to a potter’s house to give God’s people this same message: “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel” (Jeremiah 18:6).