Amos 7 … Consider His 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.

Oh, those religious leaders were not happy, nor were they in agreement with the message the prophet of God proclaimed.

Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel; the land is unable to endure all his words. 11 For thus Amos says, ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.’” 12 Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Go, you seer, flee away to the land of Judah and there eat bread and there do your prophesying! 13 But no longer prophesy at Bethel, for it is a sanctuary of the king and a royal residence,” 7:10-13).

But with the authority of Almighty God, Amos boldly asserts that he has not been paid to tickle their ears. Amos, living so contrary to the people of Israel, walks in audacious obedience as he brings an extremely unpopular  and gruesome message.

Then Amos replied to Amaziah, “I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet; for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs. 15 But the Lord took me from following the flock and the Lord said to me, ‘Go prophesy to My people Israel.’ 16 Now hear the word of the Lord: you are saying, ‘You shall not prophesy against Israel nor shall you speak against the house of Isaac.’ 17 Therefore, thus says the Lord, ‘Your wife will become a harlot in the city, your sons and your daughters will fall by the sword, your land will be parceled up by a measuring line and you yourself will die upon unclean soil. Moreover, Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.’” (7:14-17).

I heard my pastor bring such a message in church just two days ago; a message on the reality of hell. It’s not one we hear much about these days. But popularity does not truth make.

And to these people who were so intent on disregarding the future and so committed to building their lavish kingdom on earth, God paints the picture of a construction site. And it is interesting to note that this is the only place in the Old Testament where we encounter this construction term, Plumb Line.

It’s as though God was drawing their attention to the reality that as the Master Architect and Builder of His Kingdom, He has all authority over that which He Himself builds. God’s people were called out and delivered from their bondage to be built as His kingdom and established in His Righteousness; but instead they set their minds on building a kingdom for themselves.

And rather than listening to God’s prophet, their religious leader made their desires incredibly clear. They were not interested in hearing truth about God’s Kingdom or His Sanctuary, they had their own.

Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Go, you seer, flee away to the land of Judah and there eat bread and there do your prophesying! 13 But no longer prophesy at Bethel, for it is a sanctuary of the king and a royal residence.” (7:12-13).

But even in the destruction that was surely coming, we see His patience as Amos begs the Lord God to pardon and stop His hand of wrath and wreckage that will surely annihilate the entire nation. And twice, God responded to the cries of His servant on behalf of the people.

“Lord God, please pardon!
How can Jacob stand,
For he is small?”
The Lord changed His mind about this.
“It shall not be,” said the Lord, 

“Lord God, please stop!
How can Jacob stand, for he is small?”
The Lord changed His mind about this.
“This too shall not be,” said the Lord God,

Truly His heart is that all would come to repentance!

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance, (2 Peter 3:9).

But He Is Holy and He Is Just and He will not turn a blind eye to the wrongs that must be righted. And though He is patient, His judgment will come on those who do not meet His Standard of Righteousness and measure up to His Plumb Line.

Consider His Plumb Line

Vertical/Plumb/Plumb Line: 594. אֲנָךְ ʾanāḵ: A masculine noun meaning plumb or plumb line, a line used to determine verticality or straightness. It was employed by the Lord through Amos to test His people (Amos 7:7, 8), Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

A plumb line is a weight suspended from a string that is used as a vertical reference line to make certain that a structure is centered; ensuring that everything is right, justified and centered, and establishing what is “plumb” (that is, what is exactly vertical, or true).

His Plumb Line measures what is Right, Justified, Centered and True; His Holy Standard demonstrated in His Ways and His Word.

Right: what is morally good, justified, or  acceptable; true or correct as a fact.

Justified: what is conforming to, permitted by, or recognized by laws or rules.

Centered: having the specified subject as the focal element; a reference point or a place to come back to.

True: what is in accordance with fact or reality; accurate; exact.

The Plumb Line of His Ways:

  • The Plumb Line of His Ways Measures what is Right 
    • The Lord is good and does what is right;
      he shows the proper path to those who go astray,
      (Psalm 25:9 NLT).
  • The Plumb Line of His Ways Measures what is Justified 
    • Against You, You only, I have sinned
      And done what is evil in Your sight,
      So that You are justified when You speak
      And blameless when You judge,
      (Psalm 51:4).
  • The Plumb Line of His Ways Measures what is Centered 
    • “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed,” (Malachi 3:6).
  • The Plumb Line of His Ways Measures what is True 
    • “God is not a man, that He should lie,
      Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
      Has He said, and will He not do it?
      Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19).

The Plumb Line of His Word:

  • The Plumb Line of His Word Measures what is Right
    • For the word of the Lord is right,
      And all His work is done in faithfulness,
      (Psalm 33:4).
  • The Plumb Line of His Word Measures what is Justified
    • The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
      The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
      The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
      The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
      The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
      The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether,
      (Psalm 19:7-10).
  • The Plumb Line of His Word Measures what is Centered
    • But He answered and said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God,’” (Matthew 4:4).
  • The Plumb Line of His Word Measures what is True
    • The sum of Your word is truth,
      And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting,
      (Psalm 119:160).

How do we respond to His Plumb Line?

His Plumb Line. A really tough standard. Impossible really. Who can possibly measure up?

The answer is painfully obvious. No One.

The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men
To see if there are any who understand,
Who seek after God.
They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;
There is no one who does good, not even one,
(Psalm 14:2-3).

Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sin, (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

as it is written,
“There is none righteous, not even one;
11 There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one,” (Romans 3:10-12).

But He will put His Plumb Line in our midst, and He will not spare those found lacking.

“Behold I am about to put a plumb line
In the midst of My people Israel.
I will spare them no longer.
“The high places of Isaac will be desolated
And the sanctuaries of Israel laid waste.
Then I will rise up against the house of Jeroboam with the sword,”

Those found lacking. That really is all of us. For Only One understood; Only One sought God; Only One was righteous and continually did good and never sinned. Only One lived Whose Ways and Word measured up. Only One, Jesus.

But God did not leave us with the impossible task of measuring up on our own. He has made the way of our salvation; and it is only possible with God.

They who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God,” (Luke 18:26-27).

Jesus is God’s Perfect Standard and Plumb Line. And it is when we place our faith in the Holy, Sinless Son of God Who suffered on the cross as payment for our sins, that He does the impossible, making our escape from His judgment possible as He measures us by His Righteousness and not our own.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him, (2 Corinthians 5:21).

God’s judgment on sin is Just, and it is necessary, for He would not be Just if He simply overlooked sin. And hell is a reality. As my pastor said, “If hell is not a reality than the cross was a sham.” It’s a tough statement, but if there is no eternal punishment than what was the point of His brutal death by crucifixion?

The day is coming when God’s Plumb Line will measure the life of every man, woman and child. And the truth is, on our own, none of us, not even one, will measure up.

And if we face God according to our own standard as our plumb line, then we will be judged on our own righteousness; and we will then be faced with the terrifying reality that none can stand in their own merit before Holy God.

And the men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the LORD, this holy God?” (1 Samuel 6:20a).

and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Revelation 6:16-17).

God is the Builder and His kingdom will be built on Jesus as the cornerstone, His Plumb Line that assures His kingdom is built on what is Right, Justified, Centered and True.

 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12).

Oh, today, let us seriously consider how we measure up by His Plumb Line. It is only in the Name of Jesus that we will be able to stand before Holy God.

And when we are saved, let us daily come to Him, as living stones who are being built up to offer spiritual sacrifices to Holy God, for He has made us acceptable, measured by His Perfect Plumb Line, Jesus Christ, our Savior.

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, (1 Peter 2:4-5),

Let’s Grow Together!

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