Tag Archives: Amos

Christ as the Plumb Line in Amos

7 May

Read Amos Chapter 7

“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.” Amos 7: 7, 8

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.  He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17: 30, 31

 “For there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:23-26

I’ll never be accused of being a carpenter; not enough evidence.  I’ve been known to hammer a screw into a wall.  But I’m told that when you’re building a structure, you need a few tools to ensure that your structure won’t topple over.

One tool you need is a level.  That’s the yardstick thingie with a bubble in the middle.  It makes sure your cross beams are straight and not sloping ever so slightly to one side or the other.  It will ensure your roof is sitting on straight and won’t fall on you, and your floors are level.  Hence the name.   It deals with the horizontal plane.

The other tool is a plumb-bob.  (Yes, that’s really its name.) It deals with the vertical plane.  It is basically a weighted string that you suspend in front of your wall at the ceiling. It uses gravity to test what is true, or plumb. It makes sure your wall isn’t leaning backward or forward.  I’m told the Leaning Tower of Pisa is leaning because of the ground it’s on, and not poor building practices; nevertheless, if you used a plumb-bob in it, you’d see how far off it is from being straight.

In this passage, Amos refers to a plumb line let down from heaven into their midst.  This will be the new way to judge ourselves, whether we’re off the mark or not.  Christ was the perfect God-man who came down from Heaven to set the standard, showing us duty, devotion and love for God.  His holiness is our standard.

We use these two “moral tools” as we judge ourselves and others. The problem is that people would rather use a level.  We look at the person next to us and say, “I’m not as bad as he,” or “I’ve never murdered anyone.”  When you use a level, you can always come out on top of someone else, morally, because there are plenty of despots, dictators and criminals in the world.  You can convince yourself you’re not so bad.  You may even convince yourself you’re quite an upstanding person.

Consider, though, that the level that God uses is not within the reach of man.  If you tried to jump to the moon, you wouldn’t reach it.  Even if you started on the highest mountain, you still wouldn’t reach this standard.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”   Romans 3:23 Comparing ourselves horizontally doesn’t work, since we all fall short of God’s standard of perfection.  “There is none who does good.  No, not even one.”  Romans 3:12c

But we see the Perfection of Christ.  Horizontally, compared to all men, He alone met God’s standard.  He was “holy, blameless, and undefiled, separate from sinners.”  Heb.7:26  We are not.

But there’s more.  Not only are we ‘not level’, but we’re not ‘plumb’.

And then vertically, He came down from Heaven, into our midst.  He was morally upright and pure: the standard which shows how much we are teetering and about to fall, like the leaning tower of Pisa.  We are blind to this in ourselves as well, especially the average person.  But you don’t ask a skunk if he smells.

Christ lived the perfectly obedient life we could never live.   He is our righteousness.  Since we have none of our own, we must cast ourselves on His mercy; hide ourselves in Him, so that when God looks on us, He sees the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.

Since Christ has come into the world, God will no longer overlook sin.  He dealt with it once and for all. The Old Testament saints looked forward to the Passover Lamb to come, we look back on Him. Since God has now provided a better sacrifice, there is no going back to the old way.  It won’t do. The standard is set, and since we cannot meet it, we must flee to Him as our Substitute.  The vertical and horizontal planes are met perfectly in the Cross of Christ.

Prayer– “Forgive me Lord, when I look at others and compare myself to them. Help me to see You as my standard, so I won’t be critical of others, or haughty or proud. Thank You for living a perfect life as my Substitute, so I have no reason to be discouraged in my failures.”

Questions-Do you find that even as a believer, you compare yourself to others? Do you find yourself prone to be proud, envious or critical of others?

Response-Contemplate the following verses:  “Who makes you to differ from one another? And what do you have that you did not receive?”1 Cor.4:7 “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Phil. 2:4

Do something to encourage or build someone up today.

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