The Father’s Palette

“Indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this? Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honour and another for dishonour?’” Romans 9:20, 21

As we read through the Bible we read of many father – son relationships and wonder why they turned out the way they did. It started in the Garden of Eden with Cain and Abel. Both sons had the same parents and virtually the same environment yet one heeded the word of God through his father and the other did not. Quite often there are indicators as to why sons turned out the way they did but frequently there is no observable reason.

Isaiah writes, “We are the clay, and You our potter; and we are the work of Your hand” (64:8). The Lord spoke to Israel through Jeremiah saying, “as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand” (18:6). Paul wrote that any complaint on our part is as clay complaining about the potter. That is quite absurd. That I should be a vessel in His house is grace enough but that He should also add His beauty is beyond comprehension without gazing at the cross of Jesus.

In our household we have many vessels although these days few are made of clay. There are vessels in my shed that contain used screws, bolts and other reusable things that I may need one day. They have no value until needed. The container itself is not pretty. It is just to contain used, dirty and sometimes rusty items year after year. Even so, the vessel is necessary even if not a visual delight.

In the house and on display we do have items that have no useful function except to be admired for their looks. They have been made for that purpose and even if something was placed in them that would not change their purpose.

The more common containers in our house have useful purposes as well as sometimes being reasonably pleasing to the eye. Sometimes the beauty comes from the occasion in which it was purchased or because it was a love gift from someone special. On other occasions the maker’s palette has added beauty to what would otherwise be a plain item.

Speaking spiritually, there are times that I feel like one of these items. There are times I feel like the ugly container on the back shelf holding the rusting screws that may never be used. On other occasions I feel more like the coffee mug that is used quite often but not of great value or beauty.

However, there are times that I feel treasured. I am made of ordinary clay of the earth that has little value or beauty in itself but God in grace has chosen to take out His palette and paint me into a thing of beauty that is treasured by my children and grandchildren. Had the Lord not intervened in my life when He did the picture I was painting on this clay vessel would have been quite different.

In His wonderful grace through Jesus Christ, God has given me a beautiful wife who loves me, two children and their spouses who love us and through them He has given us five grandchildren who delight in our company. This is the Father’s palette of grace. I am but the clay who watches in awe as the Potter skilfully applies from His palette the beauty of His grace as He chooses for His own glory.

Ancestral Lines

“For if by one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17

No ethnic group has been more particular with their ancestral family tree than the Jews but these days many others seem interested in their family roots. There are websites that will help a person to discover their ancestral line in detail.

The Bible does not give us our detailed ancestral line but it does give all we need in order to discover our roots. Every human is descended from Noah and one of his three sons; and Noah was a descendant of Adam. Therefore we are all descendants of Adam and Eve.

Through just one man, Adam, sin entered the world bringing death with it – and death spread to all his descendants. It was our father who brought sin and death into the world. He had a choice but we had no choice. We do have a choice as to what we do about that situation.

The world considers death to be an enemy which, though it cannot be avoided, must be delayed as long as possible. But death is an act of God’s mercy, love and kindness. If there were no death there could be no substitutionary death and no resurrection. If there was no death for sin how could God “demonstrate His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)? If there was no death we would remain in our sinful state for eternity without hope.

Through death and resurrection life we who have trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour have had our ancestral line miraculously changed. Our father is no longer Adam but is now our Father in heaven through Jesus Christ.

Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” and “The first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Also, “As we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man” (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45, 49).

Many a saint has testified at the time of their bodily death of the joy of passing into the Lord’s presence and saints today look forward with great expectation of the moment when we depart this body through bodily death and see Jesus face to face in resurrection bodies “raised in incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15: 42).

We may not have had a choice of being born in Adam’s line but we do have a choice as to whether we remain in it. With Adam as our father we die as a result of sin but if we accept God’s Gift of resurrection life in Christ Jesus our Lord we have a new ancestral line imputed with our Heavenly Father as our ancestral Father. No wonder Jesus told His disciples to pray, “Our Father in heaven …” (Matthew 6:9).

This Fathers’ Day rejoice in and worship your heavenly Father.