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. Isaiah 64:8
For someone to have “dirty hands” is to infer that that person has done a less than honorable deed, guilty of a crime or immoral act.
However, someone having so-called “dirty hands” can mean the opposite – someone who is deeply involved and intimately connected to a good thing.
It is this later definition of the metaphor that we wish to explore about this great, holy God we know as our Creator.
The author A.W. Tozer wrote a remarkable statement about God when he penned the following words in his book, The Pursuit of God:
“The Bible will never be a living Book to us until we are convinced that God is articulate in His universe.”
God IS very much articulate in his universe. God is not detached, distant, aloof, disengaged, untouchable or any other adjective one can describe about God’s so-called remoteness towards His creative world.
In fact, the Bible paints a very different portrait of the author and artist of Creation. God has always desired to be involved with His most prized creation – Us.
It All Began With Dirty Hands
First, we observe how God uniquely created us – with His hands. When the rest of the creative world was formed into existence by His spoken word, God decided to get His hands dirty with us.
He reached into earthen dust and mixed, mingled and molded the first man with soiled and dirty hands.
God got involved. And He still does get involved. And His hands still get soiled every time he reaches into our dirty and oftentimes sin-stained lives to fashion us into something desirable and attractive.
The Potter & The Clay
Most readers of the Bible are familiar to the passages in Jeremiah chapter 18 concerning a particular potter and a vessel he wishes to form with clay. Let’s refresh our memory:
Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
And the vessel that 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? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
A potter must get his or her hands dirty to form an object from clay. It takes involvement. It requires one to get “dirty hands”.
And God is not afraid of getting His hands dirty to create a work of art and beauty out of our lives:
And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. John 8:3-8, 10-11
No matter how dirty we are or how stained we become, God is willing to risk getting His hands dirty if it means forming something beautiful through His grace and mercy for His glory.
Part II – From Dirt to Diamonds