Try modelling a small pot or bowl with both hard and soft clay, while listening to Jeremiah 18:1-12.
Discussion point: We need to have soft hearts that God can easily shape in His image.
Leave a lump of playdough out for a few days, allowing it to dry out. Once it’s dry, give it to your children to play with. (Hopefully at least one child will express concern that it is too hard to shape!) Also give your children a lump of soft clay for comparison.
Play alongside your children and make a small pot or bowl shape, then invite them to make one too. As your children continue playing with the dough, read Jeremiah 18:1-12. Have the children form their own clay pots as they listen. When you get to verse seven, allow your children to squash their pots (if they wish) as an illustration of God’s power.
Rebuild your pots as you continue reading verses eight to ten. Then use the discussion questions to talk to your children about the importance of being teachable and submissive. Conclude by teaching your children this simple prayer: Lord, help me to be like the soft lump of clay. I want to do things Your way today!
Questions for discussion
- Which is easier to shape into a bowl – the hard clay or the soft clay?
- In Jeremiah 18:11, what did God ask the Israelites to do?
- What does Jeremiah18:12 say they will reply?
- Were the Israelites smart or foolish?
- Do you ever get off track and start following your own way instead of God’s way?
- Is God pleased when you are like hard clay?
Just as it is almost impossible to make anything with the hardened clay, God has a hard time shaping us into the people He wants us to be when we insist on doing things our way.
Many times God made it clear to the Israelites that He would bless them for following Him, but bring disaster if they chose to go their own way (Deuteronomy 8:1-20, 11:1-32, 26:16-19, 30:11-16). To us, it seems like a no-brainer: to obey God and be blessed is clearly the best choice. Unfortunately, we act like the Israelites sometimes. God’s Word says one thing, yet we disobey and do the exact opposite.
God asks us to love Him and to love others. When we “live in love” as described in Colossians 3:12-14 (being quick to forgive, kind, compassionate, humble, patient and gentle), we are living God’s way. When we live selfishly, expecting everything to go the way we want, we are living to please ourselves, not God.
Isaiah 64:8-9 “
But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we are all the work of Your hand. Be not so terribly angry, O Lord, and remember not iniquity forever. Behold, please look, we are all your people.”
Nehemiah 9:29 “
And You warned them in order to turn them back to Your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey Your commandments, but sinned against Your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey.”
Colossians 3:12-14 “
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”