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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.
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.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."
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2:8-10 "Yahweh hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: He hath stretched out a line, He hath not withdrawn His Hand from destroying: therefore He made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together.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)