Measuring with God’s Plumb Line
“Thus He showed me, and behold, the Lord was standing by a vertical wall with a plumb line in His hand. The Lord said to me, “What do you see, Amos?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “Behold I am about to put a plumb line In the midst of My people Israel. I will spare them no longer.” – Amos 7:7-8
There are various literary genres throughout the Word of God. One of the most common genres found in the Old Testament prophets are prophetic visions that are symbolic in nature. This literary method is particularly found within the book of Amos. God revealed five visions to the prophet Amos about the people of Israel and their sin. One of the visions involved a plumb line. A plumb line is a measuring tool used by builders in construction to gauge and test whether or not a wall is vertically straight. It was a common device of that day. And in the vision, the Lord stood by a vertically straight wall, and as He stood by the wall, He measured the moral condition of His people by using a plum line. It was illustrative language that the people of Israel would understand. He was about to put them to the test by placing them on trial.
Did the people of Israel pass the test? No; they failed inspection. They were not up to code. As the Lord pulled out His plumb line to measure, they were not up to par because of moral failure. Their own wall of morality sagged and buckled with the weightiness of their sin. Instead of being a morally straight wall for God’s glory, they were a wall bowing and bulging with wickedness. Israel was guilty as charged. And because of God’s holiness, He could not ignore their spiritual condition by turning His head the other direction; for our God is a God of justice and righteousness, and it is against His very nature not to punish sin. It is also worth noting that God placed His plum line “in the midst” of Israel. His judgments upon the people of God were not going to simply brush the outer realms of Israel, but rather cut to the core, reaching the very center and heart of the people.
This Old Testament passage offers a message for us as His New Testament church. Our Lord is not going to passively sit on the sidelines and be unresponsive towards the sin of His people. God confronts us whenever we flirt with immorality. And He cares enough to measure our lives with His plumb line. To personalize this, you should desire that your “life wall” is morally straight as God reaches out His hand to measure you. It might even be a good daily spiritual discipline to mentally picture God’s plumb line pressed against the wall of your heart.
You might feel that your life serves as a strong, sturdy, and straight wall for the glory of God. But be careful. You must guard yourself against such careless assumptions. It is an easy thing to pull out your own custom made plum line nestled in the pockets of your pride and measure your life based upon your own moral standards. Instead, you must humbly ask the Lord to inspect your heart and life using His plum line, and ask Him to reveal to you things that are not up to His standards. You can be rest assured that He will answer a prayer like that every time. He will faithfully show you the things that are “off” in your life that you might have overlooked without the assistance of His plum line. And as He reveals these things to you, by His grace, the Lord can get you back in line with His will for your life.
– Pastor Eric