Sunday, April 3, 2016

Plumb Line

Plumb Line
April 4, 2016
Amos 7:8  ". . . Then the Lord said, 'Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.'"

A plumb line is a carpenter's tool used to see if a wall was built straight and true.  It is a string with a weight on the end and the string is held up against a wall.  Gravity will pull that weight straight towards the ground and the string it is attached to becomes the standard for straight.  The plumb line, when measured against the wall, will tell you how well the wall was built, how straight and true it is.  If the wall is found out of plumb, then the carpenter has a choice, he can correct it if it isn't too late, or he can tear it down, starting over again.  The  sad thing about a plumb line though, oftentimes it isn't used when building a wall, just at the end to determine if the wall was built well.  If the plumb line isn't used while building the wall, and the wall is found to be out of plumb, then really the only option is to tear down and start over.

The Lord was frustrated with the behavior of the Israelites; they were not acting as if they belonged to the Lord.  The Lord told them He was going to hold a plumb line against them, to see if they were straight and true.  He suggested very harshly that if they were found to be out of plumb, that He was sure to tear them down and start again.  Painful to hear, I know, but true nonetheless.  Today we think the Lord is so patient and full of mercy, that He doesn't function that way anymore.  But I have not found anywhere in Scripture that suggests the Lord changes His behavior.  So, here is my thought process:  If the Lord could get so frustrated with the Israelites that He wanted to wipe them out and start over again, what makes me so sure He doesn't get that frustrated with me?  What makes you and make any more special than the Israelites?  Do we sin so much less than they did?  I would argue we might sin, as a society, far more than the Israelites, but either way, how do we never get to that point?  How do we know how far the Lord's mercy will extend until He is out of patience?

Since I do not want to be torn down by the Lord, I have only one option.  The option is to apply the plumb line to myself, on my own accord before it is too late, to see where I might be lacking, to see how far away I am from what the Lord desires of me.  If I can apply the plumb line myself, making adjustments as I mature, then maybe the Lord would get far less frustrated with them to the point of being out of mercy.  I never want to be on the side of the Lord's frustration and anger, yet I doubt very few of us think that could happen.  I assure you it can happen, and possibly does on more occasions than we are aware.  The Lord brings judgments against His people on a regular basis, yet we are simple enough to rationalize it away, thinking it was a fluke of nature or a case of bad luck.  Seldom do we analyze our poor results in life, thinking they are or are not associated with our bad behavior.  I would submit to you on more than one occasion your misfortune was not a matter of bad luck but rather the Lord trying to get your attention.

Here is your chance to nip it in the bud.  You have the opportunity to apply the plumb line to yourself, God's Word of truth and His expectations against your behavior BEFORE it is too late.  Determine on your own how closely you match up with His desires for your life and make adjustments now.  It is far less painful for you to make the changes instead of the Lord forcing the change.  In fact, the Lord is more than willing to help you gently make those changes if your are humble enough to ask Him for help.  He is never willing to punish you for the sake of being punished.  He doesn't even want to see you in pain, but will do whatever it takes to get your attention.  Does He have our attention or does He have to smack us in the face to wake us up?  If the Lord were to hold the plumb line against you even now how far would it be out of plumb?  How far would He find you from His plan for your life?  Self evaluation is critical if you are going to be successful as a Christian.  Do it now before it is too late.

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Ecc 3:17, Jer 25:31, Is 28:17, Amos 7, 1 Tim 5:12

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