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Word Study: Vessel


Strongs #3627 keliy (kee-lee’)
Something prepared as an implement, utensil, vessel, or weapon.



1] a hollow or concave utensil used for holding liquids or other contents
2] a person regarded as a holder or receiver of something; a vessel of grace; a vessel of wrath


1] having a space or cavity inside; not solid, empty
2] without real or significant worth, meaningless


1] a person who has the legal ownership, possession, or use of something

Editor’s Note: These definitions remind me that it is the Father Who created me. He shaped me according to His good pleasure. He might even break me in order to mold me into greater beauty. Through the blood of Jesus, I have the legal right to call upon His name. I have gained possession of eternal life and His help as my mediator.

What’s in your heart today?
Are you ready to receive what the Lord has for you?
What can you give back to Him or to others?
Do you feel empty, cracked, or out of shape?
Seek the Master Potter to remake you,
Seek the Son to touch your heart.
Seek the Holy Spirit to fill you.


There are many Old Testament references to the fashioning and use of the Tabernacle’s Holy Vessels. Israel’s men and women willingly laid their wealth at the priests’ feet for use in making these vessels. Would we so willingly offer our possessions?

  • “And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold; an every man that offered, offered an offering of gold unto the Lord.” Exodus 35:22
  • In times of reshaping, we experience the Lord’s sovereignty and His mercy as He develops His image in us.
  • “…I am like a broken vessel… Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:12b, 24
  • “Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer [silversmith].” Proverbs 25:4

The”Law of First Mention” is an important feature of Bible study. Vessel first appears in Genesis where Israel instructs his sons on preparing gifts for Joseph. What do these best fruits signify to you?

  • “And their father Israel said unto them, if it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds.” Genesis 43:11

Why are these gifts so significant?

a little balm perhaps something to sooth pain?

a little honey maybe to sweeten life

spices to add rich flavor

myrrh to show respect, honor

nuts and almonds to satisfy hunger

Parables and allegories are often used in Scripture. The potter, the clay, and the vessel bring to mind the Creator and the one who is formed. There is an awesome truth in that relationship.

  • “Behold as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand…”Jeremiah 18:6b
  • “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” Romans 9:21

And after all, I am just His vessel — it’s not me! Just what God can do in me, with me, and through me.

  • “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

Consider the phrase “vessel of honor.” Do our thoughts and our actions reflect God’s holiness? Are we prepared for good use?

  • “…that everyone of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour.” 1 Thessalonians 4:4
  • “But in a great house, there are only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the master’s use and prepared unto every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:20,21

From “Civil War in the Hearts of Warriors”
by Ray Hughes

“I once did a fascinating study on what those warriors [Gideon’s 300] actually carried as they approached the enemy’s camp. What they literally held were clay pots. Inside each one was an oil-soaked wick smoldering. When the vessel was broken, the atmosphere or the wind would hit the wick and the oil would fare up. Inside us is the Holy Spirit ready to ignite like a flame. Once we are broken, the light can come out. With that, the anointing of the oil in our “lamp” can pour out of us as we walk in union with the Spirit.”

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