THE POTTER'S FIELD
Chapter 14

"And having held a consultation, they purchased with them the plot of ground where the potter dug his clay, as a burial place for the strangers, on which account that field was called a field of blood to the present time. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through the intermediate agency of Jeremiah the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty silver coins, the evaluation of the One who had been valued, whom they of the sons of Israel valued, and gave them for the field where the potter dug his clay, according as the Lord appointed me." [Matthew 27:7-10, Wuest].
             When the Spirit of God gives a new glimpse into another facet of truth, uncovering more of the secret which has been hidden from the ages past, the heart is overwhelmed  and awed-how great is His goodness, how mighty is His power, how marvelous is His plan of full redemption for every man. Often times these truths are hidden in parabolic form, but once they are illumined they immediately add their light to the glowing evidence that he is indeed "the Saviour of all men."
             Did you ever wonder why, when Judas returned the money which he had received for betraying his Lord, why it was that the men went out and bought a "potter's field" for a place to bury Judas, and other strangers? Why didn't they buy apiece of old waste land somewhere outside the city? Why buy a parcel of ground as valuable as the resource from whence some potter dug his clay? These things do not evolve by happen-stance, but we are persuaded that here again God was revealing IN TYPE a beautiful truth.
             What is limited in its type, for expression in parabolic form, contains within it the broader expanses of meaning which are often veiled from the eyes of the casual observer. Let us give an illustration. In Matthew 13:24, we read of how a man sowed good seed in his field, and while he slept an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat. But when it came time to explain the parable unto His disciples, the Lord declared, "THE FIELD IS THE WORLD." [Matthew 13:38]. And in another parable we read that, when He had found the treasure He desired, "for joy thereof goes and sells all that He has, and buys that field." [Matthew 13:44].
             Gathering up the various facts from these parables which Jesus gave, we know that  "though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, (SOLD ALL THAT HE HAD), that we through His poverty might become rich." [2 Corinthians 8:9]. He bought the field! God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son for all the world, and now it can be truly said, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." [1 Cor. 10:26].
             The cost was tremendous! "But Himself He emptied, Himself He made void, having taken the outward expression of a bondslave." [Philippians 2:7, Wuest]. He had to leave behind "the glory which I had with You before the world was." [John 17:5]. As He, "the Lord of glory" [1 Cor. 2:8], was crucified, being THE LAMB SLAIN, that He might redeem, buy back again that which had been sold into sin and shame. How great is the love manifested in this redemption process.
             It is to be noted that this field is called "the field of blood." While little is known of other worlds, or if there be life on other planets in our own galaxy, yet there is one paramount feature concerning our earth, and that is "BLOOD." This earth, this field has been stained again and again with blood, from that of righteous Abel, on down to this present generation, when our own boys (men and women) are now being sacrificed upon the battlefields in a ruthless, godless slaughter.  Always it seems the price is more blood, and any limited peace, or what we call peace, is gained, it appears, by blood.
             Again, it is to be noted that even our "bright nature" which we had before the fall, has been replaced with the density of blood. It is stated that "blood is congealed light." Ah, how we long for the change in our atomical structure, until once again divine light courses through our being, until our whole body is full of light. The life of the flesh is in the blood. Thank God, He has promised, "I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed." [Joel 3:21].
             Truly this can rightfully be called, "the field of blood." It is necessary therefore in the nature of the case that if there is to be a redemption, this can only be accomplished through the shedding of blood, but it requires a far better sacrifice than that of bulls and goats.
             "Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, be a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of  goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" [Hebrews 9:11-14].
             Next, it is to be noted, this potter's field was bought "to bury strangers in."
             It is interesting to find that this word "stranger" is also applied to our Lord Jesus Christ, (and those who are HIS)." He came unto His own, and His own received Him not." [John 1:11]. "I was a stranger, and you took Me not in..." [Matthew 25:43]. Thank God, there are those who are receiving Him, but for the most part, He is still a stranger to the world. For He "made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." [Philippians 2:7-8]. Thus He was "numbered with the transgressors." [Isaiah 53:12]. Though He knew no sin, yet He became identified with the sinners, as a stranger, and was buried in the very earth which He came to redeem.
             But now-because of HIM, all other strangers need strangers no longer. So we read of those who are "without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world; But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.--Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." [Ephesians 2:12-13,19].
             Yes, it was a field of blood, it was A POTTER'S FIELD, but that is just the place to be buried, for from thence the Master Potter shall dig His clay, and shall fashion anew a glorious vessel unto Himself. He has not abandoned His potter's field! It matters not how deep the pit, His arm of love reaches down, and, as the Psalmist declared, "HE brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a Rock, and established my goings. And He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord." [Psalm 40:2-3].
             "But now, O Lord, You art our Father; we are the clay, and You are our Potter; and we all are the work of Your hand." [Isaiah 64:8].
             "The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the Potter." [Lamentations 4:2].
             The process of making a vessel is beautiful to consider, as the Potter digs out the appointed clay, and proceeds to prepare it for molding. It is most interesting to note that "clays owe their origin to the decomposition of various rocks..." according to the Universal Standard Encyclopedia. We have not especially cared for the crushing, breaking process, but God isn't molding stubborn rocks and stones." A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." [Psalm 51:17]. Also, "Whosoever shall fall on this Stone (CHRIST) shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." [Matthew 21:44]. Ere the process of God is finished, everything will be subdued before Him, every man shall have been broken, made into clay, and then formed according to His will.
        We know not why the Master Potter chooses to apprehend the portions of clay that He does, why He has dug us out of the earth, rather than digging some other place. But truly we are grateful for each one whom He has apprehended now, and it is not for boasting, but should afford deep humility to know that His hand is now laid upon us, that He might fashion us into a vessel meet for His use. It was Gideon who wondered at this sovereign "apprehending of God," who said, "Oh my Lord, behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." [Judges 6:15]. And Paul confessed, "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given."  [Ephesians 3:8].
             Yes, the sovereignty of choice is HIS, but how thankful we are that His purpose is that "in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order ." [1 Corinthians 15:22-23]. To those who have now been laid hold of by God, "we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." [2 Thessalonians 1:11-12].
    Once the clay was dug, it was then trodden by men's feet so as to form a paste. God always has those instruments whom He can use, as He said to Israel, to "come upon princes as upon mortar, and as the potter treads clay." [Isaiah 41:25]. Or, as the Psalmist declared, "You brought us into the net (the INTERnet??); You laid affliction upon our loins. You caused men to ride over our heads." [Psalm 66:11-12]. (the
internet!! o:)
          How little have we comprehended the ways of our God, and just when we thought He had apprehended us, and was going to bless us, we found that HE placed us in situations where "men" walked upon us until we were almost a shapeless mass. Was this the path of an overcomer? we questioned. And many found it hard to accept it as from the hand of the Lord, but nevertheless, HE had a purpose in all of the humiliation process, for when HE had thoroughly worked out all of our stubborn resistance, then He would be able to shape us into a vessel through whom His glory could be revealed.
             What is being wrought today in the "precious sons of Zion" shall ultimately be wrought in all men. He shall subdue, and whosoever will not fall upon the Rock, shall find that the Rock shall fall upon them, until it has ground them to powder-not to destroy, but to bring to that condition where He can make them into anew vessel, to His praise. He will not do this for the purpose of extinction, but with wise design for anew realm. "And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed :--it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms." [Daniel 2:44].
             "You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." [Psalm 2:9].
             "And He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers..." [Revelation 2:27].
 What shall be done with these broken nations, these shattered pieces of clay? BURY THEM OUT IN THE POTTER'S FIELD, UNTIL THE DAY WHEN HE SHALL COME AGAIN AND LIFT THEM UP, TO RESHAPE THEM INTO VESSELS OF HIS PLEASURE.
                             Someone once wrote:

   "God chooses, God bruises, God uses,
   He had no problems--only plans!"

             "He has torn, and He will heal us; He has smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight." [Hosea 6:1-2]. Reduced to nothing, buried in the tomb of nothingness, out in the Potter's field, to await the hour when His grace shall embrace us again, and resurrection power shall lift up that which was brought low, and love shall conform us all into His own blessed image.
             In the natural illustration, one can easily see the dual use of a potter's field. First the good clay was dug out, and used for the desired vessels, and then the broken fragments, discarded pieces which were cast away, could all be placed into the emptied pits. (Original Editor's Note: We find it very interesting as the writer states, "First the good clay was dug out." We are led to a verse from Ecclesiastes, 12:7, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." If "ALL THINGS are out of (from) GOD" then can it be said that the Field is God Himself? End of note). To the natural mind this graveyard of refuse is the end, no hope left-but to let the years roll on, while time, weather changes, and those hard, broken pieces begin to crumble and decompose. When the long, disciplinary process is over, we find that the Master Potter is able to return to that potter's field, and dig up that which was buried, while His resurrection power forms anew that which was useless and discarded, and it shall redound to His praise.
             It is hardly necessary for us to pursue the thought of how the clay is placed upon the wheel, and tenderly shaped by the Potter until a vessel is made, but our earnest desire is that we "shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work."
[2 Timothy 2:21].
             Once the vessel was, however, duly shaped and formed to the proper specifications, it is then smoothed and coated with a glaze, and finally "fired" in the furnace. The "smoothing" process is well known to many, I am sure. The various and sundry means which God uses to remove the rough spots, this is a necessity, that we might be free from that which is harsh, crude, or disagreeable. There shall be no flaws in the vessel which shall share His glory. One definition for this word "smooth" is to be "frictionless." Ah, no clashing of wills, nothing left in our nature which would cause a resistance to be felt, but a perfect harmony, fully adaptable to His will and purpose in all things.
             As for the glazing process-let it be said that when we are clothed upon with the glory of Himself, glistening with His righteousness, then can it be said, "The Lord shall arise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. And the nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising."
[Isaiah 60:2-3].
             The final task in preparing the vessel is to cause it to pass through the fire, to be placed in the furnace. Fire has many uses, and God has used it to MELT us down until we were pliable in His hands. He has used it to burn out the dross. But He also uses the fire to TEMPER AND HARDEN, and those who have passed through the fiery tests find that instead of "falling apart" because of the process, they have a new inner strength, and they are stronger because of all the processing. Yes, though tried by fire, may God grant that we "might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." [1 Peter 1:7].
             "Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause you 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 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? says the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in Mine hand, O house of Israel." [Jeremiah 18:2-6].
         The vessel was marred IN THE HAND OF THE POTTER. Therefore the Potter was fully responsible for both the "marring" and the ultimate re-molding process. Thank God, He who began in us a work which is good shall ultimately bring it to a successful conclusion, regardless of all the in-between- processes. But now He must needs break it all down again, reduce it to a shapeless mass, tread it under, water it anew, and work it into a new lump from whence He can shape a new vessel. This was the message which came to Jeremiah concerning the house of Israel.
             Israel--marred in the hand of the Potter, they became vessels of shame and dishonour. So He broke them, and scattered them out in the FIELD (Original Editor's note: scattered them out into Himself. End of note.), shifting them among the nations (Amos 9:9), while the years passed over them, and they were processed by all the conditions which time can bring. But He has purposed there shall be a time when He shall gather them together again, and receive them unto Himself. And then Paul asks, "If the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" [Romans 11:15].
          The vision is glorious, and our heart is thrilled, for though Israel was marred, broken to pieces, cast out into the Potter's Field, scattered across the "field of blood," into every corner of this earth, yet the thirty pieces of silver for which our Lord was sold, bought that field, and while it is a burying place for strangers, HE shall visit it again.
             There is, however, another thought which blends in with this whole picture, so we turn to Romans 9:21-24.
             "Has not the potter power over the clay; of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory. Even us, whom He has called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Nations?"
         Yes, the Potter has some vessels that He has made which are unto dishonour, and fitted to destruction--that is, when He has finished using them in their dishonorable state, He will break them, cast them out into His field, until such a time as He chooses to dig them up as clay to be molded anew, into vessels of mercy and praise. Some will object, thinking that this teaches "a second chance." Let it be clearly stated, SALVATION, OR ANY OF GOD'S WORKS, ARE NEVER BY CHANCE! They are wrought by His sovereign grace, with great purpose and design. But we do rejoice that every vessel marred in the hand of the Potter can be RE-MADE, as it seems good unto Him.
             Why then, if they must be re-made, has He brought forth vessels unto dishonour? This is more of His great work in the "interplay of good and evil." But for a moment, consider: How often today God has placed in the same house a vessel of mercy unto honour, and a vessel of wrath unto dishonour. He apprehends one to receive His grace, drawing unto Himself, imparting light and life, and leaves the other one in darkness. Then HE proceeds to use this unenlightened one as a "vessel of wrath" in the purifying process of His apprehended "vessel of mercy." Oh, what testings, what rubbing off of rough places, what polishing goes on-all of His choosing and purpose.
             It is a mark of spiritual maturity and growth when a child of God can recognize that if it be that theirs is a somewhat divided home, with a dishonourable vessel there, to allow God to use that vessel to draw out of them all the impurities and imperfections, while they submit to it all as unto GOD'S HANDIWORK, knowing that HE uses such vessels for His own will. Then, rather than trying to escape the situation, they yield to the working of the Lord, and seek to cover the whole situation with more LOVE, while God brings forth the fulness of His purpose.
             Not always, however, and to God be the praise, are homes so divided, but then rest assured, when two are walking together in harmony before the Lord, still HE will bring into their lives from somewhere those vessels of wrath which are to be used in their purification--be it neighbors, fellow-workers on the job, or however the case might be. May God hold us steady, not railing upon these "vessels of wrath," but allowing HIM to use whom HE pleases, until we are fully conformed to His image, and  found unto His praise.
             Then, what shall be the end of these "dishonourable vessels?"  "The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband." [1 Corinthians 7:14]. Likewise whatever vessels God has brought into the sphere of your influence, used for your purification process, shall they not also, in due time, be SET APART UNTO SALVATION, having served their purpose?
             Praise God, let all vessels of mercy then intercede for the others, to pray, "in wrath remember mercy." [Habakkuk 3:2].  And even if it be necessary for the Lord to utterly break in pieces those marred vessels, and cast them out into the field, buried as lone strangers, without hope, without God in the world-remember, the field was bought with the price of our Lord, and though "seven times" pass over them, as in Nebuchadnezzar's case (Daniel 4:28-37), or yet seventy times seven, still God shall take that clay, once it has been crushed, mellowed, and become pliable, and mold it again into another vessel, unto His praise. There shall be a time when He shall receive again unto Himself all of His creation, though it take the severest of discipline measures. Yet He shall not fail nor be discouraged, "till He send forth judgment unto victory." [Matthew 12:20].
             Judas was certainly a dishonourable vessel, having betrayed his Lord, and come to such an ignoble end of his natural life, until finally, having hanged himself, they took him and buried him out in the field where the potter dug his clay.  Ah, what beautiful typology! When all would be decomposed, dust returned to dust, once again apart of the clay of the earth, it could be taken up and remade into another vessel, this time to be one unto praise, honour, and glory. Having served the full purpose as a vessel of wrath, now shall the grace of God reach out and set this one apart for the in workings of HIS GREAT SALVATION.
             And all that is portrayed in this one individual is also applicable for the whole of creation which has been buried under the bondage of vanity and corruption in the field of blood, this earth-realm. But HE who is The Great Vessel Of Mercy was buried in this same earth, and thus sanctified the whole earth, set it apart for the due process of being re-made into another vessel, to the glory of God. So great a plan of salvation, with humbled hearts we bow low to worship at His feet.

THE POTTER'S FIELD

The potter's field-a field of clay,
What visions now before us lay....

A rock that's crushed, to decompose,
Within the earth to take repose.
A lump of clay to thus become,
Before the Potter, waiting, dumb.
That He alone might make anew
A vessel of His image true.

The process might at times seem long,
And even yet bereft of song-
As on the Potter's wheel we turn,
While He is teaching us to yearn
For every aspect of His will,
His plan in us to thus fulfill.

And if it be the thing is marred,
Beyond repair it seemeth scarred,
Then take it out into the field
And bury it, till it doth yield
To times and seasons, breaking now,
Before the Lord to humbly bow.

And then the Potter shall return
And dig again the clay once spurned,
And fashion it unto His praise.
Thank God for all the Potter's ways.

 

Redemption--All--in--All

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