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Isaiah 64:8

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

But, now, O Lord, thou art our Father "But thou, O Jehovah, thou art our Father" - For ועתה veattah, and now, five MSS., one of them ancient, and the two oldest editions, 1486 and 1488, have ואתה veattah, and thou, and so the Chaldee seems to have read. The repetition has great force. The other word may be well spared. "But now, O Lord, thou art our Father." How very affectionate is the complaint in this and the following verses! But how does the distress increase, when they recollect the desolations of the temple, and ruin of public worship, Isaiah 64:11; : "Our holy and beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burnt up with fire," etc.

We all are the work of thy hand - Three MSS. (two of them ancient) and the Septuagint read מעשה maaseh, the work, without the conjunction ו vau prefixed. And for ידך yadecha, thy hand, the Bodleian, and two others MSS., the Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate read ידיך yadeycha, thy hands, in the plural number. - L.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

But now, O Lord, thou art our Father - (See the notes at Isaiah 63:16).

We are the clay - The idea seems to be, that their condition then had been produced by him as clay is moulded by the potter, and that they were to be returned and restored entirely by him - as they had no more power to do it than the clay had to shape itself. The sense is, that they were wholly in his hand and at his disposal (see the notes at Isaiah 29:16; Isaiah 45:9).

And thou our potter - Thou hast power to mould us as the potter does the clay.

And we all are the work of thy hand - That is, as the vessel made by the potter is his work. We have been formed by thee, and we are dependent on thee to make us what thou wilt have us to be. This whole verse is an acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God. It expresses the feeling which all have when under conviction of sin; and when they are sensible that they are exposed to the divine displeasure for their transgressions. Then they feel that if they are to be saved, it must be by the mere sovereignty of God; and then they implore his interposition to ‹mould and guide them at his will.‘

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The people of God, in affliction, confess and bewail their sins, owning themselves unworthy of his mercy. Sin is that abominable thing which the Lord hates. Our deeds, whatever they may seem to be, if we think to merit by them at God's hand, are as rags, and will not cover us; filthy rags, and will but defile us. Even our few good works in which there is real excellence, as fruits of the Spirit, are so defective and defiled as done by us, that they need to be washed in the fountain open for sin and uncleanness. It bodes ill when prayer is kept back. To pray, is by faith to take hold of the promises the Lord has made of his good-will to us, and to plead them; to take hold of him, earnestly begging him not to leave us; or soliciting his return. They brought their troubles upon themselves by their own folly. Sinners are blasted, and then carried away, by the wind of their own iniquity; it withers and then ruins them. When they made themselves as an unclean thing, no wonder that God loathed them. Foolish and careless as we are, poor and despised, yet still Thou art our Father. It is the wrath of a Father we are under, who will be reconciled; and the relief our case requires is expected only from him. They refer themselves to God. They do not say, "Lord, rebuke us not," for that may be necessary; but, "Not in thy displeasure." They state their lamentable condition. See what ruin sin brings upon a people; and an outward profession of holiness will be no defence against it. God's people presume not to tell him what he shall say, but their prayer is, Speak for the comfort and relief of thy people. How few call upon the Lord with their whole hearts, or stir themselves to lay hold upon him! God may delay for a time to answer our prayers, but he will, in the end, answer those who call on his name and hope in his mercy.
Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 28.1

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. HP 28.1

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Ellen G. White
Letters to Young Lovers, 43.3

Your only course is to give yourself unreservedly into the hands of Jesus—all your experiences, all your temptations, all your trials, all your impulses—and let the Lord mold you as clay is molded in the hands of the potter. You are not your own and therefore there is the necessity of giving your unmanageable self into the hands of One who is able to manage you. Then rest, precious rest and peace will come to your soul. LYL 43.3

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 65.1

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. LHU 65.1

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Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 428.1

Not to Be a Shadow of Others [See chapter 29, “Dependence and Independence.”]—Oh, how much the workers need the spirit of Jesus to change and fashion them as clay is molded in the hands of the potter! When they have this spirit, there will be no spirit of variance among them; no one will be so narrow as to want everything done his way, according to his ideas; there will be no inharmonious feeling between him and his brother laborers who do not come up to his standard. The Lord does not want any of His children to be shadows of others; but He would have each one be his own simple self, refined, sanctified, ennobled by imitating the life and character of the great Pattern. The narrow, shut-in, exclusive spirit which keeps everything within the compass of one's self has been a curse to the cause of God and always will be wherever allowed to exist.—The Review and Herald, April 13, 1886. 2MCP 428.1

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 471-2

It is because God is leading them that these things come upon them. Trials and obstacles are the Lord's chosen methods of discipline and His appointed conditions of success. He who reads the hearts of men knows their characters better than they themselves know them. He sees that some have powers and susceptibilities which, rightly directed, might be used in the advancement of His work. In His providence He brings these persons into different positions and varied circumstances that they may discover in their character the defects which have been concealed from their own knowledge. He gives them opportunity to correct these defects and to fit themselves for His service. Often He permits the fires of affliction to assail them that they may be purified. MH 471.1

The fact that we are called upon to endure trial shows that the Lord Jesus sees in us something precious which He desires to develop. If He saw in us nothing whereby He might glorify His name, He would not spend time in refining us. He does not cast worthless stones into His furnace. It is valuable ore that He refines. The blacksmith puts the iron and steel into the fire that he may know what manner of metal they are. The Lord allows His chosen ones to be placed in the furnace of affliction to prove what temper they are of and whether they can be fashioned for His work. MH 471.2

The potter takes the clay and molds it according to his will. He kneads it and works it. He tears it apart and presses it together. He wets it and then dries it. He lets it lie for a while without touching it. When it is perfectly pliable, he continues the work of making of it a vessel. He forms it into shape and on the wheel trims and polishes it. He dries it in the sun and bakes it in the oven. Thus it becomes a vessel fit for use. So the great Master Worker desires to mold and fashion us. And as the clay is in the hands of the potter, so are we to be in His hands. We are not to try to do the work of the potter. Our part is to yield ourselves to be molded by the Master Worker. MH 471.3

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 335

But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we are all the work of thy hand. Isaiah 64:8. OHC 335.1

We do not know what the Lord will do for us, if we will come into line. God sees what He can make of man. There are possibilities which our feeble faith does not discern. “Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” 1 Corinthians 3:9. He sees all the now unamiable traits of character in man, and He knows, if men will learn the meekness and lowliness of Christ, He can mold and fashion the combative spirit, the unamiable disposition, and bring every power of the being into working order to advance His kingdom. He longs to refine, elevate, and ennoble the entire life.... Through the Holy Spirit's power He can use the very worst characters, and make them men and women of opportunity. OHC 335.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4 (EGW), 1154

“That He,” Christ Jesus, “might be glorified”—O that this might be the purpose of our lives! Then we should have regard even to the expression of our countenance, to our words, and even to the tone of our voice when we speak. All our business transactions would be wrought in faith and integrity. Then would the world be convinced that there is a people that are loyal to the God of heaven.... 4BC 1154.1

God calls for all to come into harmony with Himself. He will receive them if they will put away their evil actions. By a union with the divine nature of Christ, they may escape the corrupting influences of this world. It is time for every one of us to decide whose side we are on. The agencies of Satan will work with every mind that will allow itself to be worked by him. But there are also heavenly agencies waiting to communicate the bright rays of the glory of God to all that are willing to receive Him. It is truth that we want, precious truth in all its loveliness. Truth will bring liberty and gladness (Manuscript 43, 1908). 4BC 1154.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 186-7

If men will but humble themselves before God, if they will not exalt their judgment as the all-controlling influence, if they will make room for the Lord to plan and work, God will use the qualifications He has given them in a way that will glorify His name. He will purify His workers from all selfishness, cutting off the branches that would entwine around undesirable objects, pruning the vine so that it will produce fruit. God is the great Husbandman. He will make everything in the lives of those who are laborers together with Christ subservient to His great purpose of growth and fruit bearing. It is His plan, by conforming His servants day by day to the image of Christ, by making them partakers of the divine nature, to cause them to bear fruit abundantly. He desires His people, through actual experience in the truth of the gospel, to become true, solid, trustworthy, experimental missionaries. He would have them show results far higher, holier, and more definite than in our day have yet been revealed. 8T 186.1

The potter takes the clay in his hands and molds and fashions it according to his own will. He kneads it and works it. He tears it apart and then presses it together. He wets it and then dries it. He lets it lie for a while without touching it. When it is perfectly pliable, he continues the work of making of it a vessel. He forms it into shape and on the wheel trims and polishes it. He dries it in the sun and bakes it in the oven. Thus it becomes a vessel fit for use. So the great Master Worker desires to mold and fashion us. And as the clay is in the hands of the potter, so are we to be in His hands. We are not to try to do the work of the potter. Our part is to yield ourselves to the molding of the Master Worker. 8T 186.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 62

Pictures in Heaven's Record Books—Remember, your character is being daguerreotyped [photographed] by the great Master Artist in the record books of heaven, as minutely as the face is reproduced upon the polished plate of the artist. What do the books of heaven say in your case? Are you conforming your character to the Pattern, Jesus Christ? Are you washing your robes of character and making them white in the blood of the Lamb? “Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be” [Revelation 22:12].... TSB 62.1

Changing Before It Is Too Late—Laura, it is not now too late for wrongs to be righted. It is not now too late to make your calling and your election sure. You may now begin to work upon the plan of addition. Add to your faith virtue, and knowledge, and temperance, and patience, and every Christian grace. Everything else will perish in the great day of conflagration, but the gold of holy character is enduring. It knows no decay. It will stand the test of the fires of the last day. My dear child, I wish you to remember that “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” [Ecclesiastes 12:14]. TSB 62.2

Truth is unfolding to those who walk in the light of the sun of Christ's righteousness. The truth sanctifies. We see vice prevailing everywhere. It is pampered and glorified, while true goodness, equity, justice, and purity are trampled underfoot. A large number are sowing seeds of baleful influence around them. What are you doing, Laura? Have you, since you decided to discard counsel, to refuse advice, been growing into a firm, well-developed Christian, or have you, in choosing your own way, found it brings unrest, cares, and worries? TSB 63.1

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 65.4

We need to strengthen our souls with hope, the twin sister of faith. God's workers must live in perfect submission to the will of God. There is danger of working at cross purposes with God, for man wants to work his way, which he supposes is the very best way in which to bring about the purposes of God. But we cannot have our own way and will. God must work in us and by us and through us. We are to be in the hands of God as clay in the hands of the potter, for Him to mold after the divine similitude. TDG 65.4

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 173.4

Oh, the greatness of the work to save souls! How few feel it! How few are doing all they can to gather souls to Christ! Satan is working with his might—persevering, diligent, untiring—while many who profess the truth are asleep, doing nothing to save souls, not even living the truth they profess. It is no tame testimony that will meet the people. We must reach the people through God. We must be flexible in the hands of God, to be molded as clay in the hands of the potter. There is sufficiency in the grace of God for every hour of conflict, for every hour of trial. Let us take hold of God more firmly. His Spirit will help, His Spirit will strengthen and sustain. TDG 173.4

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