Amos - The Plumb Line Prophet
When I think about the prophet Amos, I always think of three things: justice, righteousness, and the plumb line. Amos has been called the Plumb Line Prophet because he had a vision of God standing by a wall with a plumb line in His hand. In case you’re not familiar with a plumb line, it is simply a weight suspended from a string and is used to determine an exact vertical. It is a reference line used by carpenters to keep their work straight. The plumb line sets the standard and it does not change with the whim of the carpenter. It remains true and all work must line up with it. In Amos’ prophecy, God was using the plumb line to measure Israel’s faithfulness to His Law. Sadly, they did not line up.
Most of Amos’ prophecy is an indictment of the nations, including Israel and Judah, for their sins against Him and one another. All failed to measure up to God’s plumb line, and because He is a God of justice, judgment would fall on the guilty. Israel was singled out because they were His privileged people. He had chosen them, made a covenant with them, delivered them from slavery in Egypt, and given them His Law. His Law was their plumb line, but they had despised it. Theirs’ was a sham religion. They exploited the poor, were ungrateful for God’s mercies, and silenced the prophets from speaking the truth. They worshiped idols and failed to honor God. So He asked them a rhetorical question, “Can two walk together unless they are agreed” (Amos 3:3)? Of course not! When you walk with someone you must walk in the same direction and at the same pace. But Israel had strayed far from God, far from the plumb line of His law. They were not walking with God.
God did not give His law to be a burden to Israel, but to be a blessing -- to enable them to live peaceful, prosperous, happy, and holy lives. But the Book of Judges tells us they did not want to live God’s way. They wanted to do what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6, 21:25), and so that is what they did. They refused to live according to God’s standard, so they had no standard at all. They lived by their own whims.
As I think of that and the sadness and misery that followed in their lives because of their choice to reject God and His Law, it makes me sad for our world today. We live in a secular world and it is increasingly easy for Christians to fall into the secular trap and walk away from God. He has given us His Word in the Bible as a Plumb Line for our lives, to keep us close to Him and enable us to live peaceful, prosperous, happy, and holy lives. But if we don’t read His Word, ponder it in our hearts and minds, and obey it, then we are like the Israelites -- we follow our whims and do what is right in our own eyes. Then we end up suffering the consequences -- if not now, then later.
Just as the prophet Joel proclaimed the day of the LORD, Amos also warns of that day, a day of woe and a day of darkness…, very dark with no brightness in it for those whose hearts have not been found true to God’s plumb line (Amos 5:1-20).
Everyone needs a plumb line in his or her life -- a reference point to keep us on a path of good and not evil (Amos 5:14) and Amos has shown us that God and His Word are our plumb line. In Amos 5:24, God says, “Let justice roll down like water and righteousness like and ever-flowing stream.” Indeed it will. God promises justice, which means judgment of evil, and, on the day of judgment, righteousness will flow and those who have loved God and honored the Plumb Line will have no reason to fear or be ashamed.
May you always find joy in staying true to the Plumb Line.
6/20/2020 02:21:13 am
I love this, thank you so much sis. I had to look in the Mirror at myself.
3/16/2021 06:17:06 pm
I’m so glad this was meaningful to you, Delila. It’s always good for us to take a look at ourselves in God’s mirror, and Amos surely calls us to do that, doesn’t he?! Many blessings to you as you strive to live for Him. I’m blessed to be your sister in Christ.
3/16/2021 08:55:13 am
What kind, and sobering reminder from the Lord.
3/16/2021 06:23:06 pm
Thank you taking the time to comment, Mike. God is so good to give us needed reminders throughout His Word, isn’t He? And some very powerful ones in the Minor Prophets!
9/10/2021 03:41:15 pm
I would actually say, 'Jesus is our plumb line'. He is the corner stone.
9/11/2021 07:08:05 pm
Many blessings to you too, Crystal, and thank you for your thoughtful comment. Yes, Jesus is our Cornerstone, our Rock and our Salvation. He is the Word of life and He is certainly our Plumbline. It would be a wonderful study to explore all the ways in which He is our Plumbline.
10/16/2021 03:32:01 am
Lovelyy blog you have here
10/18/2021 06:53:25 pm
Thank you for taking the time to comment, Elliot. I appreciate your encouraging thought. May God richly bless you.
3/21/2023 09:53:20 am
I went to Amos to find out more about his vision of the plumb line, because I had a vision that I was standing next to the Lord looking at myself. The Lord pointed at me and said, “Finish it” I said “Finish what?” He said, “Zechariah 4.” So I looked at Zechariah 4 and saw that the hand of Zerubbebal will finish it, with a plumb line. This was given to me 2005. I prayed about this and the Lord keep saying, patience. So now, he is showing me again Zechariah 4. This led me to Amos 6 and the plumb line. Can you shed some light on this? Thanks
Leave a Reply.
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.