VESSELS FOR HONOR
We read in the Old Testament that Jehovah, the god of the Old Testament, is the one who forms the spirit within all men (Zech. 12:1). This is the reason why Moses and Aaron called him the god of all flesh(Num. 16:22). Based in this reality Moses asked Jehovah that, as the god who forms the spirit, that is, the good or bad character of men, to set over Israel a leader worthy of the kingdom of Jehovah, to prevent the people of god to be like scattered sheep without a shepherd (Num. 27:15-17). Job reveals to us that the souls of every living thing, and the flesh of all men are in the hands of Jehovah(Job 12:9-10). He also reveals that the understanding of all men, good and bad, is Jehovah’s inspiration. To prove that, the very Jehovah says that he is the potter, and as such he molds the clay as he wishes (Jer. 18:9-10). Paul tells us the following: “Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use?” (Rom. 9:21).
Well, Jehovah, the potter, told David: “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendants after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish His kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever. I will be a Father to him and he will be a son to Me” (2 Sam. 7:12-14; 1 Chr. 17:11-14). The name of the son of David, elected by Jehovah as a vessel for honor, was a name chosen by Jehovah, Solomon, which means peaceable. This vessel for honor would confirm the kingdom of David forever (1 Chr. 22:9-10). Jehovah also declared that he chose Solomon as his son (1 Chr. 28:6).
Well, Solomon was the worse king, for with the wisdom given him by Jehovah, he slaved the people and submitted them to an iron yoke, establishing heavy taxes in order to keep his pompous throne and political ostentation (1 Kings 12:4). When his son Rehoboam ruled in his place, the people who were tired complained of the evil yoke that Solomon set over them. Rehoboam, according to the example of his father and the counsel of irresponsible people, said: “Whereas my father loaded you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions” (1 Kings 12:11).
With the wisdom given by Jehovah, Solomon enjoyed the lusts of the flesh as no one else, for he had seven hundred women, princesses, and three hundred concubines. With the divine wisdom given to him by Jehovah, he allowed the one thousand strange women who caressed him (1 Kings 11:1-9) to pervert his heart. Solomon was the greatest idolater among all the kings of Israel. Therefore he was a vessel of dishonor, and the kingdom was divided, and the offspring of David received only Judah and the Levites. Let us hear the words of judgment of Jehovah to Solomon: “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant. Nevertheless I will not do it in your days for the sake of your father David, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son” (1 Kings 11:11-12).
Jehovah promised to David that Solomon would be a vessel for honor and not of dishonor. Jehovah predestined Solomon, and Jehovah is the one who forms the person’s character. This was also what Paul affirmed in Rom. 9:21. If Jehovah, the potter, the almighty potter, declared that Solomon would edify the temple for his glory, and declared himself to be the father of Solomon, his dear son (2 Sam. 12:24), gave him divine wisdom (1 Kings 3:12) — his wisdom reached all the peoples of that time (1 Kings 4:29-34), if this vessel of honor became a vessel of dishonor, if Solomon, the peaceable, lost peace with the potter, it is proven that the almighty, El Shaddai, does not have power over the clay, and when he affirmed that, he did not say the truth.
Jehovah, the potter, said this about Israel: “Every one who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made” (Is. 43:7). “But thus says Jehovah, your creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!’” (Is. 43:7). “ When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you” (Is. 43:2). Jehovah created and formed Israel for his glory, but the opposite happened, for “They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers, and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which Jehovah had commanded them not to do like them. And they forsook all the commandments of Jehovah their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of Jehovah, provoking Him” (2 Kings 17:15-17).
How did this happen to the people if Jehovah affirmed to be the potter and Israel the clay, and if Jehovah gives the moral shape of Israel? It rests evident that, if Jehovah forms a vessel for honor and glory, and the vessel becomes a vessel of wrath, scandal, shame and corruption, the potter does not have any power.
In the Psalms we read that Jehovah changed the hearts of the Egyptians to hate Israel, what indeed happened (Ps. 105:23-25). Jehovah has all the power over evil, but he does not have power over good, for he prepared his people to be good, but they turned out evil. Jeremiah says: “Yet I planted you a choice vine, a completely faithful seed. How then have you turned yourself before Me into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine?” (Jer. 2:21).
The only one who can make men good is Jesus Christ. And how does He do that? The one who believes in Him is buried and raised with Him in life, and is a new creature, where there are no traces of the old creation, stained through the law of Jehovah (Col. 2:12; 2 Cor. 5:17). It is men created in true justice and holiness (Eph. 4:22-24).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira