Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - July 25, 2017

Today's Reading:

1 Corinthians 11:17-34

2 Kings 5

Obadiah 1

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading  

In 2 Kings 5, we find the tragic story of Gehazi.

Gehazi was Elisha's trusted servant as we read in various places in 2 Kings (2 Kings 4:31 ; 5:25 ; 2 Kings 8:4 2 Kings 8:5). Gehazi was with prophet Elisha through the Shunammite experience (2 Kings 4:14 2 Kings 4:31). Gehazi
had been a first-hand witness that a double-portion of Yahweh's Spirit was upon prophet Elisha. The sick were made whole before his eyes, armies were defeated when they tried to arrest his godly master, and even the dead were brought to life again! 

But none of it did Gehazi any personal good. For when Naaman the Syrian came for healing and was healed by dipping seven times in the Jordan River, Gehazi's greed overtook even basic common sense! The man was being an absolute fool in trying to deceive a true prophet of Yahweh! 

When Naaman gratefully tried to pay prophet Elisha for healing his leprousy, Elisha refused to accept the payment. He simply explained that Yahweh, God of Israel, had healed Naaman - and God alone should get the glory and the gratitude.

As Naaman was leaving, Gehazi found an opportunity to sneak out and chase after him. When Naaman stopped to see what he needed, Gehazi lied and said that Elisha had sent him to take a few things for some guests who just arrived. Naaman in gladness and innocence gave all that Gehazi requested.

But it was all a terrible lie! Gehazi's greed had caused the glory of Yahweh to be eclipsed a bit in Naaman's eyes, and in Syria. This was a crime which caused Elisha to confront him as soon as he returned to the prophet's house.

"Where were you, Gehazi?" the prophet asks.

"No where," is Gehazi's astounding reply.

Really? It is no surprise that Gehazi is unable to pull one over on the prophet Elisha! This man has the Spirit of Yahweh with him - big time! The surprise is the Gehazi is foolish enough to even attempt it!

But Gehazi had now tainted some of what God had done to draw the Syrians to Him. The cost to the mission was serious, effecting generations of individuals. And Gehazi's punishment was also serious. Elisha denounced Gehazi's crime with righteous severity. Then he judged the greedy servant, by passing on him the leprosy of Naaman. From that day forward, Elisha said that leprosy would cleave to Gehazi and his seed for ever (5:20-27). 

How can a man, who was a first-hand witness to so many mighty miracles, finish in such a manner? It is tragic, almost beyond belief.
But, sadly, Gehazi was like so many Christians today. He was around the people of God, witness to the power and works of God, and a was even a participant in the worship of God. But Gehazi was just going through all the right motions. Nothing, which he saw or experienced, changed his heart!

I love the story of Corrie ten Boom and her wonderful father, Casper. When the Nazi's took over Corrie's native Holland, a few righteous resistors arose. Corrie and her family were among these. They helped hide Jewish people, protecting them even in their own home, and aiding them in escaping to safer ground. 

One refugee who was brought to them for sanctuary was a precious Jewish baby. Corrie's home had little to offer an infant. Thus, when her Christian pastor (who had children) stopped by for a visit, she brazenly asked him to help her by taking the child. Normally, Corrie wouldn't risk revealing to an "outsider" that she had anyone Jewish in her care. But she was so confident that her pastor of many years was true Christian that she was certain he would help. The man did not!

After the cowardly pastor left, Corrie expressed her shock to her father. How could a Christian turn away anyone in need - especially a helpless baby? 

Casper's response was wise and unforgettable. He said, "just because a mouse is in the cookie jar doesn't necessarily make him a cookie!"

How true! And just because we go to church on the right day and go through all the right motions doesn't necessarily make us true followers of Christ. Let's heed the warning in the story of Gehazi. Let's seek the love of God to reach our hearts. May we be cookies - not mice!




Monday, July 24, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - July 24, 2017

Today's Reading:

1 Corinthians 11:1-16

2 Kings 4

Amos 9

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading  

In the latter part of Amos 9, we find a beautiful and encouraging glimpse of our glorious future with Christ.
Amos 9:13-15 "Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of My people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith Yahweh thy God." 
Some might suggest that these verses are "nice", but not really relevant to us in the day-to-day world in which we live. "I'm sure it will all be wonderful, when we get there," some may think, "but give me something I can sink my teeth in to. Give me something that helps me get through the struggles I am facing today."

Actually, glimpses of the glorious future which God has promised to His people are exactly what we need to help us with whatever we're facing today. In Proverbs 29:18, we find that people need a vision, for without it they are destroyed. Our vision needs to be fixed on the good that lies ahead. The more clearly we can see it, the more strengthened we will be to walk through whatever lies between. Scripture even tells us that Messiah Himself was strengthened to endure the Cross, by His Vision of what that Price would bring. What was His vision? Us with Him for all Eternity!
Hebrews 12:2  "Looking unto Yahshua the Author and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right Hand of the Throne of God."
So today, let's take a moment to not only meditate on the promises found in Amos 9:13-15, but let's deepen and further develop the encouraging picture! It is a picture which all starts with a Wedding...

His Majesty, the King of the Universe, requests the honor of your presence at the Royal Wedding of the Ages (Revelation 19:7). Yahshua our Messiah, desires you to be one of His called-out ones. In other words, He is calling you to make ready to be His Bride.

You are cordially invited to partake in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  It is God’s Heart-felt desire that you will be made ready through the cleansing of Yahshua’s Blood.  Your place at the Great Marriage Supper Table may be secured by Yahshua’s Grace and by your love for Him and His beautiful Torah. By His Power and Spirit, you are to have been washed, dressed and made lovely in preparation for the Wedding of the Universe. 
Ephesians 5:25-27  "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." 


As a token of His love for you, you are given His promise to seal you as His own (Ephesians 1:13) as He rejoices over you, His bride. He clothes you in the wedding garments of salvation and righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).
Isaiah 62:5  "For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee."  

There are many customs appointed by God as teaching tools. In a unique way, the Hebrew Wedding Ceremony is a detailed illustration of the Messiah's relationship to His bride.

The first step in the marriage process, in ancient Israel, was that the father of the groom would select a bride for his son.

In Genesis 24:1-4, Abraham made arrangements for his son Isaac's wedding. While the father usually had the responsibility in Abraham's life it was not possible. In such a case, it was acceptable for the father to delegate this responsibility by designating a trusted representative. Still, the Biblical marriage was arranged by the father. 

The Heavenly Father has chosen you and me. We have been chosen to be His special people, His children through marriage to His Son. 
Deuteronomy 7:6  "For thou art an holy people unto Yahweh thy God: Yahweh thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth."  
Deuteronomy 14:2  "For thou art an holy people unto Yahweh thy God, and Yahweh hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto Himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth."  
But once the prospective Bride had been chosen, she had a choice to make. She was not forced to marry the son against her will.  She had the choice to decide whether or not she would love and marry the prospective Groom, or whether she’d rather have someone else.

When the prospective Bride agreed to marry the Son, The Mohar - or Bridal Payment was made.

This is sometimes called - the Bride price. It is a gift paid by the groom to the bride's family - but ultimately belongs to the bride. It changed her status and set her free from her parent's household. We see this illustrated in two Biblical examples:

Isaac and Rebecca - Gen. 24:53
Jacob and his wives - Gen. 29:20,27
 
The more valuable the Bride, or the more in debt she was, the higher the Bride price.

The Bride would not hide her bride price. The coins were strung and worn on as a ringlet about her head. In this way, she proclaimed to everyone who saw her the price that had been paid. Also, it was through the price paid for her that the Groom first conveyed his love for her. It was through the price paid, that he showed her how much she was worth in his eyes.


Have you ever thought about your Bride price? How much did the Son pay for you?

Can you see how great His love is for you?  It is our highest joy and privilege to proclaim the Bride price. We honor Him and His sacrifice by revealing it to all whom we meet.
John 12:32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.”
And when we comprehend such a staggeringly valuable and sacrificing Bride Price, we come to love the Groom with all our hearts. (Check out the song: The Love of God.)

When the Bride Price was paid, a special covenant was written and signed. It was called the ketubah.

Ketubah means - "written". The ketubah was and still is today the - "marriage contract." The ketubah includes the provisions and conditions of the proposed marriage:
The groom promises to support his wife to be. The price of the Bride’s dowry is set, and the groom promises to pay it.

The bride agrees to marry the groom. She pledges her faithfulness and love to become the pure bride he deserves.
The ketubah is the groom’s communication to his bride. In ancient times, the ketubah contained instructions for the bride to help her prepare to become his wife. It also contained tender words of love from the groom to the bride, and a promise that He would provide for all her needs. 

After signing the ketubah, the groom would return to his father’s house. He would add on a room to his father’s house, preparing a place for his bride, so that he could return to claim her and take her home. During his absence, the Bride read the ketubah, learned his instructions, and was comforted by his words of love.

Have you thought about it? The ketubah in the story is the precious Torah! This is the love letter of the Groom, to us as His Bride. It contains His promises, assurances of His love for us, and His instructions for how to become a holy Bride by Yahweh’s Strength.

As we read it, like a loving Bride, we gladly learn His Instructions, and obey them. This is the best demonstration that the Bride really loves the Groom.

Once the Bride Price was paid and the Ketubah was signed, the Couple was betrothed. 

The betrothal period is called - kiddushim - meaning "sanctification" or "set apart." This word really defines the purpose of the betrothal period - it is a time in which the couple are to set side to prepare themselves to enter into the covenant of marriage. 

The Jewish understanding of betrothal has always been much stronger than our modern understanding of an engagement. The betrothal was so binding that the couple would need a religious divorce in order to annul the contract (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). Signifcantly, only the prospective groom could annul the contract.
 
The lesson or implication is quite clear - we are secure in our Messiah's promise with us and He promises that He will not break it - (John. 10:28).

In celebration of the kiddushim, or sanctification period beginning, the Couple would have a betrothal ceremony.

After the couple had undergone - Mikveh (baptism by immersion) , each separately, they would appear together under the chuppah - or canopy - and in public they would express their intention of becoming betrothed or engaged. From ancient times - the wedding canopy has been a symbol of a new household being planned - (Psalm. 19:5; Joel 2:16). While under the chuppah the couple participated in a ceremony in which some items of value were exchanged.

A cup of wine was shared to seal the betrothal vows. After the ceremony - the couple was considered to have entered into the betrothal agreement. Yahshua shared this cup of wine announcing the start of the betrothal at the Last Supper.

During the betrothal the couple was considered married - yet continued to live separately until the end of the betrothal. We see this time of betrothal illustrated in the Gospels as reflected in the lives of Joseph and Mary - (see Matthew 1:18-25).

Yahshua’s cup of wine with us is the Cup of Redemption, which as was explained earlier, both the Bride and Groom drank from. We drink from it every Passover.  And we look forward to drinking it with Him in the Kingdom.

Following this betrothal ceremony the groom would return to his home to fulfill his obligations during the betrothal. At his departure, he would give his future bride a matan - or bridal gift, a pledge of his love for her. It's purpose was to be a reminder to his bride during their days of separation of his love for her, that he was thinking of her - and that he would return to receive her as his wife.

Yahshua’s Bridal Gift is the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit!
 
During betrothal the groom's responsibility was to focus on preparing a new dwelling place for his bride and family:
In Biblical times this was most often done not by building a new home - but by simply adding additional rooms to his father’s existing home. 

Traditionally, the place to which the bride was to be taken must be better than the place she had lived before.
It was not the groom's duty to determine when the place he was preparing for the bride was ready - his father would make that determination and give the go-ahead to receive his bride. 

The bride also was to keep herself busy in preparation for the wedding day – she would read and study her ketubah, prepare her wedding garments and gather her bridal party.

The final step in the wedding process is called - Nissuin - the word commons from the Hebrew verb - (nasa) - which means "to carry." 

This is a beautiful description - as the bride would be waiting for her groom to come - to carry her off to her new home. The period of the betrothal - was a time of great anticipation - as the bride waited for the arrival of her betrothed.

One of the unique features of the Biblical wedding was the time of the groom's arrival. It was the father of the groom who would give the final approval for the marriage to begin – setting the time of the wedding.

When the time came for the Groom to come, the bride and her bridal party were to be ready - this is the background of Yahshua's parable (Matthew. 25:1-13). It was customary for one of the grooms party to go ahead of the bridegroom, leading the way to the bride's house - and shout - "Behold, the bridegroom comes." This would be followed by the sounding of the shofar.  

In Isaiah 25:9, we find what the Bride will say, when she sees her Bridegroom return, “Lo, this is our God! We have waited for Him and He will save us.”
Revelation 1:7-8  Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith Yahweh, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."

The living righteous are changed "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." At the Voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal, and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Sovereign in the air. Angels "gather together the elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers' arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the City of God.  (My Life Today, p 352)
The glorious Return of our Heavenly King is foreshadowed in the beautiful Feast of Tabernacles. This annual celebration starts on the 15th day of the 7th Month, which is an annual Sabbath - marking the Day of Christ's Return. The Feast of Tabernacles lasts for seven days, signifying the seven-day trip on which Yahweh will take His people. We will be seven days touring the universe, with the Creator as our Guide! Seven days we will be ascending to the Sea of Glass! Then on the eighth day - which is also a Sabbath - the Last Great Day - will will enter the Father's House. This is the Day of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!
Leviticus 23:34-36  "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days unto Yahweh. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.  Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh. (In spiritual fulfillment, remember that Romans 12:1 tells us we offer ourselves as acceptable living sacrifices.) On the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you... It is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein." 
When, on that glorious eighth Day, we reach the Gates of the holy City, Scripture tells us the triumphant and joyful song which the choirs of Heaven will sing.

Psalm 24:7-10 – is the Praise Processional Sung when we Arrive at Heaven’s Gates - imagine it being sung with two companies of angelic host - one side singing out the rhetorical questions, and the other side singing out the response:
"Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in."

Who is this King of glory? 

Yahweh strong and mighty, Yahweh mighty in battle!  
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 

Who is this King of glory? 

Yahweh of hosts, He is the King of glory!"
And as the glittering Gates are opened, we will be invited to enter - and enjoy our first taste of the wondrous Tree of Life:
Revelation 22:1-2  "And He showed me a pure River of Water of Life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the Throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the River, was there the Tree of Life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations."
Revelation 22:14  "Blessed are they that do His Commandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in through the gates into the City."

Matthew 25:34 "Then shall the King say unto them on His right Hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

Revelation 21:10-27And He carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great City, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven from God,  Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;  And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.  And I saw no temple therein: for Yahweh God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life."
Isaiah 11:6-9  The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.  They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea." 
Oh dear ones, catch the vision of what Yahweh has promised for His people. Catch the vision and keep it always before your eyes. As you gaze upon Him and upon His wondrous Promises, you will find encouragement and strength to endure that darkness and difficulties today.

To conclude today, I leave you with one of the most powerful songs ever written: The Holy City

 


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - July 23, 2017

Today's Reading:

1 Corinthians 10

2 Kings 3

Amos 8

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading  

There is a curious connection between our reading in 1 Kings 22 (from a few days back) and Amos 8 (from today). Both chapters bring out the point about how vitally important it is to hear the Word of Yahweh.

In Amos 8:11-12 it says, "Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Words of Yahweh: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the Word of Yahweh, and shall not find it."

I believe we are already witnessing the early stages of this coming spiritual famine. People go to church and hear a "feel-good" message. All too often folks go to the "House of God" only to get flattered, patted on the head, and told that everything is just fine. 

Many are satisfied with this "peace-and-safety-style" message. They want a church where the messages make them feel good. When someone tells them about End-times, or the need to prepare to meet God, they grumble against the speaker complaining about the "negativity" and  "doom and gloom". They want to hear just what they want to hear. In fact, they purposely choose preachers, teachers, and leaders who will comfort them by saying only and exactly what they want to hear, even when it isn't the truth:

2 Timothy 4:3-4 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
1 Thessalonians 5:3  "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." 
Jeremiah 8:11  "For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace."
Because so many professing Christians have "itching ears" to hear messages of "peace"  and "safety", hearing the real Word of God is growing increasingly more difficult. Those who dare to speak it are ostracized, socially pressured, or just ignored altogether. These ministers lose their pastoral positions. And these ministries increasingly struggle to make ends meet - so poorly are they supported. Under this pressure, our society has actually created the spiritual famine of Amos 8:11, making it more and more rare to hear the real Word of Yahweh.

This terrible condition also existed in the time of ancient Israel and Judah in the time of Jehoshaphat. Israel's king Ahab was allied with Judah's king Jehoshaphat to defeat the Syrian insurrection at Ramothgilead. Prior to the battle, king Jehoshaphat asked if they could "inquire of Yahweh" about whether or not they should go to battle. 

The king of Israel called 400 prophets and asked them to prophesy. Now all these supposed prophets of Yahweh were spiritual "sell-outs". They had been instructed to tickle the king's ears, foretelling "peace" and "safety". This they all did! Now after hearing 400 prophets of Yahweh telling them that they would surely be victorious, you would think that would have settled the matter. But it didn't! Some part of Jehoshaphat's soul knew that this "peace" and "safety" message the real Word of Yahweh. And he was hungry for the truth! 

"Don't you have any other prophets?" he asked the king of Israel. 

As we have already read, the true prophet was called. But before having audience with the two kings, he was forewarned to join the message which the prior 400 prophets had already given. 

Probably in a tongue-in-cheek manner, the prophet agrees with the 400 prophets. He tells the kings they can be assured of success. But the kings reprimand him, demanding the truth. Then, the prophet tells them that Jehoram will be slain. The bad news of the prophet isn't well received. He is even imprisoned for daring to give a doom and gloom message. But in spite of its lack of popularity, the message of this prophet is the true Word of Yahweh. And it comes to pass exactly as the prophet warned.

Today, even more so than in Jehoshaphat's time, there is a famine of hearing the Word of Yahweh. And the choice is really yours. Will you seek teachers who say what you want to hear, as did Ahab? Or do you want to hear the true Word of Yahweh, as did Jehoshaphat? 

If, like Jehoshaphat, you want the truth - God's true Word - I encourage you to revisit the blog of January 9, to help you on that vital journey. 

May it be that each of us have a heart for the true Word of God, whether or not His Message is popular or comforting. Let us love the Truth. Only then will have a continual supply of Heavenly Bread, throughout the greatest spiritual famine which is already beginning upon this earth. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - July 22, 2017

Today's Reading:

1 Corinthians 9

2 Kings 1-2

Amos 7

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading  

Today I will focus on a few key verses in Amos 7. In Amos 7:7-9, we find a reference to Yahweh using a "plumb line". As John Ritenbaugh explains in Prepare to Meet Your God! (The Book of Amos) (Part Two):
In construction, the plumb line tests whether what was erected is perpendicular to the square, that is, if it is straight up and down, if it is upright. It provides a standard against which one can measure what he has built. Metaphorically, when God draws near with the plumb line, He is looking for those people who are living and abiding in His grace and His Law.
By cross-referencing the concept of the "plumb line" with other Bible prophets on the subject, we can flesh out the details of this spiritual analogy. For example, the prophet Isaiah associates the plumb line with righteous Judgment.
Isaiah 28:16-17  "Therefore thus saith Yahweh GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place."
Jeremiah further connects the (plumb) line of Yahweh with the Judgment of the Almighty. But Jeremiah makes it plain that the plumb line of the Most High is used for spiritual measurement. In an earthly court of law, this would be the stage of judgment which is intended to determine guilt or innocence. After this initial stage of judgment, sentencing can be appropriately carried out. In Yahweh's righteous Judgment, His plumb line indicates the process of taking our spiritual measure. 

If a person doesn't "measure up" through living with Grace-empowered obedience to His Standards, the sentencing of the Almighty is imminent. And what is it which causes the person to not measure up to Yahweh's plumb line test? Turning away from the Law of Yahweh:
Lamentations 2:8-10  "Yahweh hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: He hath stretched out a line, He hath not withdrawn His Hand from destroying: therefore He made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together. Her gates are sunk into the ground; He hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the Law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from Yahweh. The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground."
Yahweh's end-time people will be tested, just as He tested Israel of old. What will Yahweh's spiritual plumb line test reveal about our Christian growth (I Corinthians 3:9-16)? We are commanded to grow "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). From this we see that the plumb line is God's revelation of Himself as the Standard.

God's law is the primary vehicle He uses to reveal Himself.  It defines the Laws of His Kingdom. If we want to be in His Kingdom and live as He does, we must obey His Law.
But obeying God's Law in no way minimizes grace. God revealed Himself to Israel first as Redeemer and then as Lawgiver. He freed His people from their slavery in Egypt before He gave them the standard of His law. Grace precedes law. God gives grace first, but He does not leave His people ignorant of the life that pleases Him, which is revealed in His Law.

The plumb line combines grace and Law, and God will test us against both. If we rely on His grace without Law, or on His Law without grace, we will not pass the test. If either is abused, we will not measure up to the standard.

Leviticus 19 shows that the revelation of the Law is important because it is a verbal description of God's nature. Our God is a holy God (verse 2), and He expects His representatives to be holy also. But how do we become holy?

After God redeems us from sin and extends to us His Spirit and grace—His free, unmerited election, He expects us to follow His instructions. The remainder of Leviticus 19 fills in the details—we become holy by doing these things. These actions reflect God's nature. Since God is holy, His law is holy, and if we follow His holy law, we can—with the indwelling of His Holy Spirit—grow to be holy like our holy God. (John Ritenbaugh, Prepare to Meet Your God! (The Book of Amos) (Part Two)