THE GOD OF THE PLUMB-LINE
- This is the third of five visions Amos saw concerning the judgment of God against Israel.
- In this vision Amos sees the Lord standing on a wall – with a plumb-line in His hand
- The plumb-line, with a plumb bob on the end of it, is used to determine the vertical perfection of a wall
- Since the pull of gravity will stretch the string straight down it is considered to be a perfect vertical standard.
Israel had been formed by the plumb-line of the Lord – His Law – the principles of right by which He had sought to build the nation
Now, with the plumb-line in His hand, the Almighty is going to show how far out of line the nation of Israel had become, how far it is from being upright, and how completely crooked and unbalanced they had become.
The Bible elsewhere emphasizes the importance of straight and solid surfaces
- Matthew 7:24-27
- A foundation must be firm and stable
- As the foundation sags and moves, so does the structure
- Notice that the firm foundation comes as we “hear” and “do” the commands of God
“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11)
- Our foundation will never sag or crack if we build on Jesus – He is the “Chief Cornerstone”
- We must use Christ as the point from which we are to plumb
- We have the perfect foundation on which to build, but how are we going to build? Will our structure be plumb or out of plumb?
Let us now, with Amos 7:7-9 in mind, notice some ways in which the Almighty is “The God of the Plumb-line”
GOD EXPECTS EVERY WALL TO BE BUILT BY HIS PLUMB-LINE
- We are by our every decision and action, continually building a wall of character
- Whether consciously, or not, we are building our wall of character by some kind of standard
- Standards by which many build:
1) The rule of pleasure (Lk. 12:13-21)
2) The rule of popular opinion
a) But the Bible says… Exodus 23:2
b) Noah is a good example of not following the popular opinion
3) The rule of certain prejudices (changes views because family is involved)
4) Many others could be given
The only straight and true wall of character occurs when we use God’s rule, God’s standard
- The plumb-line, that by which we are to build, is God’s Word – His “Plumb-line of Truth”
- All our thoughts and actions must be measured by God’s word. Not man’s opinions, not man’s wants – but by God’s Plumb-line
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17
- Hebrews 2:1-3
1) God has given us the perfect standard by which to build our wall of character
2) We cannot escape the wrath of the “Inspector” – the Almighty God – if we are not building according to the proper code/standard.
5. 1 Peter 4:11
1) We must build our wall of character after God’s oracles – not man’s
2) Don’t stray away from God’s plumb-line
3) Remember … Proverbs 14:12
The reason there is so much confusion in religion and morality is that people have failed to recognize the one perfect standard – God’s Plumb-line
1) James 1:22-25 is of particular significance
2) There has been too much curiosity about the Bible without corresponding convictions regarding the absoluteness of its precepts
3) What would you think of a mason building a wall and seeing that the wall does not line up with the plumb-line and then just shrugs it off?
4) The same casual attitude is often taken toward the Scriptures
THE PLUMB-LINE EMPHASIZES THAT GOD JUDGES EVERYTHING BY AN EXACT STANDARD
- The plumb-line is used in the Scriptures as an illustration of judgment
- Isaiah 28:16-17
1) The force of the text must not be missed
2) The plumb-line always hangs straight, and we are going to be judged by the plumb-line
When a mason finds his wall out of plumb, he does not discard the plumb-line – he adjusts the wall!
We should not discard God’s standard, but line ourselves up with it
The judgment of God is always according to truth
This truth is revealed in the Bible:
1) John 12:48
2) Revelation 20:12
There will be no partiality shown in the judgment, “For there is no respect of persons with God” (Rom. 2:11).
God will never read the measurements incorrectly
So if we are not in line with God’s plumb-line we will not go to heaven
IN BUILDING A WALL IT IS FAR BETTER TO TEST EACH COURSE BY THE PLUMBLINE AS WE BUILD
- It would be foolish for a mason to wait until he finishes the wall to check to see if it is plumb
- It is just as foolish for us to build our wall of character and never check God’s Plumb-line along the way
2 Corinthians 13:5
- Examine yourself
- Are you out of plumb?
- Are we measuring up to the standard?
1 Corinthians 9:27
- Bring our bodies into the subjection of the plumb-line
- If we stray away – bring ourselves back in line
2 Timothy 2:15
- Study to make sure we are in line
- Keep checking ourselves through study
In every field of human interest the necessity of a standard is recognized
- In Sports there are rules
- In science there are exact systems of weights and measurements
- The carpenter has his rule and level
- The mason has his plumb-line
All need to realize that one can only succeed spiritually with constant use of the plumb-line of God!