Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said: “Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore. The high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste. I will rise with the sword against the house of Jeroboam.” (Amos 7:7-9)
The Lord’s Plum Line
One of the most important items in a contractor’s arsenal of tools is a plum line. This simple tool has been around since the beginning of time as men built cities and walls. A plumb line is a tool consisting of a small, heavy object attached to a string or rope. The plum line gains its power from the force of gravity. Suspending the plum line by a natural course of gravity a builder can determine whether a wall is even and perpendicular. Proper construction requires the walls to be perfectly vertical. A plum line tells the builder what needs to be fixed or repaired.
In a vivid and powerful illustration, Amos sees the vision of the plumb line with the Lord God standing on top of the ‘wall’ He built representing Israel. When God constructed the nation of Israel in the beginning His word was perfectly vertical. The Lord’s perfection in the design of everything is measured by the grace of His plumb line. After a wall is built time may have exerted force upon the wall causing it to lean. Using a plumb line the Lord stands upon the nation of Israel to see if it is still square and vertical. The obvious conclusion is that Israel is far off the mark. God’s people had leaned towards idolatry and immorality to their destruction.
A plumb line does not lie. The established forces of nature are the same then as they are now. If Amos took a plumb line and measured a wall he could determine whether it was “plumb” or not. Today those same forces of nature will give the same results. In a figure of spiritual correctness the plumb line of God’s word is the same because God does not (absolute) change. Men will build the walls of knowledge with their wisdom but measured to the plumb line of God it will never be correct. Only – and only when – man seeks to build his life with the plumb line of God will there be truth.
Denying the truth of God is like trying to deny gravity – how silly. No one would argue that gravity does not exist. Jumping off a building would prove that. The plumb line is a simple tool that since the beginning of time has shown the force of gravity and remains constant. Such is the word of God. It has not changed since the creation of the world. It will not change. Denying the word of God as a measure of living will only bring failure. If our lives are not in vertical harmony with the will of the Lord our life is “out of plumb.” How do we correct that? Pull out the spiritual plumb line (called the Bible) and start measuring your life.
The best proof of God’s existence is what follows when we deny it. (William L. Sullivan, Epigrams and Criticisms in Miniature, 1936)