The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,…
So far as all physical energy is concerned, the Lord can do with us as the potter does with the clay; but the Lord Himself cannot make a little child love Him: there is a point at which the clay lives, thinks, reasons, defies. The potter can only work upon the clay up to a given point; so long as it is soft he can make it a vessel of honour or a vessel of dishonour, he can make it this shape or that; but once let him burn it, and it is clay no longer in the sense in which he can fashion it according to model or design. A marvellous thing is this, that the Lord has made any creature that can defy Him; and that we can all defy Him is the testimony of every day's experience. Let the Lord say, Can I not crush the universe? and the answer must be, Yes, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye; Thou hast but to close Thy fingers upon it, and it is dead, and Thou canst throw the ashes away. But almightiness has its limits. There is no almightiness in the moral region. The Lord cannot conquer the human will by any exercise of mere omnipotence: the will is to be conquered by instruction, persuasion, grace, moral inducement, spiritual ministry, exhibition of love upon love, till the exhibition rises into sacrifice and indicates itself in the Cross of Christ. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." Why does He not go in? Because He has no key of that door that can open it by force. Why does He not break it with one tremendous blow? Because then the heart would be crushed and killed, and would not be persuaded into becoming a guest chamber for the King. We have it in our power to say No to God, to defy the Lord, to withdraw ourselves from the counsel and guidance of heaven.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,