God has given Amos two visions about destruction and Amos prayed that God’s judgment would be delayed for the sake of the people. God gives Amos another vision while He is praying and it is a vision of God holding a plumb line. A plumb Line was an instrument used when building and was the ultimate test that something was being built straight. A wall that was not straight would be torn down because it would not last.
We have building codes so people do not later buy houses that are unfit or dangerous to live in. We have standardized testing in our schools so that we know that people have to have a certain amount of knowledge to graduate. Our entire world has standards or plumb lines that we use in order to judge someone or something to make sure it is correct whether it be measuring devices for weight or for length. We are not allowed to come up with our own standard for what we think is acceptable we have to go by certain measurements and codes or there would be chaos.
In our society just like in Amos day people were coming up with their own system of following God. They thought it was acceptable but Amos was going to show them that their standard was not measuring up.
Read Amos 7:7-9 This is what he showed me: behold, the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. 8 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 never again pass by them; 9 the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”
1) God Holds the Plumb Line
“I am setting a Plumb Line” Many people today and in Amos day thought that being good enough would be alright with God but God Judges us according to His standards not our own. God is the one who sets the Plumb Line and His plumb line calls us to be perfect as He is perfect. Most people when it comes to God they think that if their lives are good enough or the fact that they are trying will be acceptable to God. Most people treat God as if He is going to alright with any amount of effort or work but the Bible tells us that God has a standard we all have to meet and that standard is Holy.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death
The people in Amos day were worshiping God along with other gods from other religions thinking it was acceptable to God. They were not concerned about the standards that God set and so they made up their own standards thinking that God would accept them. God was putting Israel to the test because they think that the way they have been living and worshiping were straight but God is getting ready to show them that their ways were crooked.
We have to make sure that we are not creating a god in our own image and that we are not allowing false theologies (study of God) to sneak in. We must go by what God has revealed in His Word or we will be straying from the Plumb Line.
2) The Plumb Line is Rejected
Read Amos 7:10-17 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos has said, “‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from his land.’” 12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”14 Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was[a] no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. 15 But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 Now therefore hear the word of the Lord. “You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’17 Therefore thus says the Lord: “‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line; you yourself shall die in an unclean land, and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’”
Notice the first person to reject the word of God was the religious leader. In Amos day and in ours it is the religious leaders who begin twisting the standards of God and making up their own standards leading people astray. The religious leader then trumps up charges against Amos accusing him of treason saying that he is conspiring against the King. When someone cannot discredit your words they will try and discredit you. Amaziah (the religious leader) was committed to the King and Amos was committed to God. Amaziah did not want to lose his position of power the King gave him and Amos gave up his position to be obedient to God. Amaziah then calls him a seer (a person who has dreams or visions) as opposed as a prophet (one who speaks the words of God). Amaziah was calling Amos a person who was hired for money to speak certain things. Amos then goes on the defensive and lets him know that he had no intention of being a prophet but that God called him out of being a herdsman because no one was speaking the truth anymore. Amaziah was wrong to stop Gods word from being spoken to God’s people and God judgment upon Amaziah and his family was disastrous.
James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness
As much as this passage is a warning to those who claim to speak for God it is also a warning that every religious leader does not need to be trusted. Prophecy or preaching has a root meaning in the word “drip”. Heaven Drip rain (Judges 5:4) Mountains drip wine (Amos 9:13) Words of Counsel (Job 29:22) Words of Love; Song of Solomon 4:11;5:13) and words of enticement (Proverbs 5:3) Preaching was to be pleasant but Amaziah uses prophecy or preaching in a negative term.
2 Corinthians 2:15-16 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
The Gospel is good news only to those who want to accept it by faith that Jesus took our penalty of sin and made us clean. People that believe they can earn salvation by their own works do not think they need it and therefore do not like it because their pride has taught them that they are acceptable to God on their own terms.
“Do not preach against …. The Land is not able to Bear all his words.”
Both God and Amaziah told Amos to go but Amaziah told him to go somewhere else (Judah) and God told him to go to His people Israel and speak the truth. This is not just an argument about where Amos can preach but a spiritual battle about accepting the word of God as true. Our culture does not want to hear the truth so they tell us to keep it in our churches and so they tell us to go back to our churches or homes. You will be faced with a choice to make between who you are going to listen to and if you will allow the world to cause you to be silent. The good news of Christ is not always taken as such and people will try and silence you from speaking it.
Acts 5:27-29 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men
The temptation in our society is to no offend anyone but if we speak the truth then people are going to be offended. Amaziah never denies that Amos is a prophet he just tries to discredit him and he does not deny that Amos is speaking a word from God but he does outwardly reject it. The people could not hear any more of Amos words because they could not handle them or hold up under the weight of them because they were convicted by them.
“It is the Kings Sanctuary” (vs13)
The real issue is that they had their system of doing things and the priest called the Temple the Kings Sanctuary. It was a state Temple and therefore no one could speak negatively against the King when it should have been a temple to worship God.
3) Jesus is the Plumb Line
When we stand before God there is only one measurement that will line up with Gods standards and that is Jesus Christ. Jesus met all the requirements that God required and only through Jesus Christ can we stand to be measured by God
A) Jesus was Sinless and we receive His sinless life.
Romans 8:1 -4 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Can anyone say like Jesus (John 15:10) that they have obeyed all of God’s Laws? See Also John 15:10 and Romans 5:19
B) Jesus paid the penalty for sins so we do not have to.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
C) Jesus was buried and Rose again so we can be as well.
Colossians 2:12-14 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
We will fail the judgment of God if we do not accept Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for our sins. The plumb Line is perfect and will show any discrepancies and flaws and if they are found then judgment will occur and what we have built up will be torn down and lost. This is the good news of Jesus Christ (Gospel) that because of Christ we measure up to God’s plumb line and Jesus made us acceptable to God. We do not get to pick and choose how we want the wall built or what kind of God we want to follow. There is a standard and it is impossible to be met by us and had to be met by Jesus Christ. God will take out the plumb line and see if we measure up and for many they will try and justify their crooked ways but for others they will point to the finished work of Jesus Christ.
Have you accepted the free gift of Jesus Christ and what He has done of the cross or do you think your actions and your good works will be accepted by God?
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.