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)
God’s Plumb Line
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a plumb line is “a line (as of cord) that has at one end a weight (such as a plumb bob) and is used especially to determine verticality; a line directed to the center of gravity of the earth: a vertical line.” Used by plumbers, carpenters, surveyors and a host of construction workers, the plumb line is a basic tool to test whether an object is perpendicular to the square. It is believed to one of the oldest tools as used by the Egyptians in constructing the ancient pyramids. During the days of Jeroboam, king of Israel, Amos describes the justice and righteousness of the Lord against Israel as the measuring of the plumb line. God calls the prophet by name and asks him what he sees. In the vision, the prophet sees the Lord holding a plumb line. Sadly, the message of the plumb line is that God has brought final judgment against his people Israel and He would tear down the wall of His Beloved. The imagery is striking as the house of God was built in perfection but the idolatry and wickedness of the people had perverted the nation. Measuring spiritual Israel with the plumb line of God’s justice and mercy Israel was found wanting. Many prophets had come to the people seeking their repentance but there was no turning back. The longsuffering of the Lord allowed the nation to stand but the time had come when judgment would come to the house of the Lord. A plumb line is based on the law of gravity that is unmovable. There can be no deviation or change when the measure of God’s wrath is brought against ungodliness. A plumb line is complete truth, pure accuracy and shows a wall to either be straight or crooked. Using a spiritual allusion to the plumb line, the Lord tells Israel the day of longsuffering has come to an end. The high places of Israel shall be desolate or destroyed. These high places were where the people offered sacrifices to the gods of idolatry. When the kingdom first divided and Jeroboam became king of the northern ten tribes, he set up golden calves at Dan and Bethel and became sin because the people went to worship before the shrines on the high places. Two hundred years later the final judgment came upon Israel as the plumb line of God’s righteousness brought swift judgment upon the people.
The plumb line seen by Amos was not the first time the Lord had used His plumb line to judge the people. Mentioned only by Amos and Zechariah, the plumb line was crafted before time began. When Adam and Eve disobeyed the command of God, the plumb line of truth measured their actions and found them in rebellion. In the days of Noah, the world had turned away from God requiring their measuring by the eternal plumb line of the Lord. It brought about swift judgment by the hand of the Lord as He destroyed all things that had the breath of life save eight souls. For those who perished the plumb line of God found them out of line with the will of the Lord. Noah and his family were measured by the same plumb line and found grace in the eyes of the Lord. When a wall is straight the plumb line will bear testimony of its character and if a wall is skewed the same plumb line will find the inconsistencies. Gravity is an absolute law that is unchanging. Grace is an absolute law that is unchanging in the character of God. He created the law of gravity in the beginning and He formed the plumb line of righteousness that tests the hearts of all men. Throughout the generations of men, the same plumb line has been used by the Lord to tests the hearts of men. The Bible is filled with stories of those who found judgment before the Lord because of their failure to respect the word of God. He measured them and found them wanting.
There is evidence of the divine plumb line when one reads the Bible. Contained within the sacred pages of holy writ the Lord measures the hearts of men to test them and determines if they will obey Him. Men have tried to change the word of God to fit their own wisdom but like a plumb line, the word of God always returns to the original creation formed by God. The evidence of many churches shows how men have tried to build their walls of truth according to their own designs. Compared to the word of God they do not line up. If a person wants to know if what they are practicing is the word of God, they only have but to use the plumb line of truth to see if what they believe is found in the Bible. Examining the many names of churches, how do these titles line up to the plumb line of God’s word? When men seek answers to what must be done to be saved and they use any other answer than what is found in the word of God they deny the plumb line of the Lord. The pattern of worship, work of the church and character of the body of Christ is determined by a single body of evidence: where does the plumb line of God lie? Finally, it must be clear that as in the days of Amos, the plumb line of the Lord was used to bring judgment against those who disobeyed. In the same vein, it determined who the righteous of the nation were. A day is yet to come but will come soon when all men will stand before the Creator of heaven and earth and the plumb line of righteousness and truth will measure the stature of their hearts whether they have done the will of God or rejected His word. It will be a day of complete justice, mercy, grace, and love as the measure of God’s character judge the hearts of men. Where you find your eternity will be determined by where the plumb line of God falls on your heart.