This is what the Lord GOD showed me: he was forming locusts at the time the latter growth began to sprout (it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings). When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said, “O Lord GOD, forgive, I beg you! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!” The LORD relented concerning this; “It shall not be,” said the LORD. This is what the Lord GOD showed me: the Lord GOD was calling for a shower of fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. Then I said, “O Lord GOD, cease, I beg you! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!” The LORD relented concerning this; “This also shall not be,” said the Lord GOD. This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by; 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.”
As with Jesus’ Parables in the Gospels, God’s message here was conveyed using everyday images which people could relate to: locusts, fire and a plumb line. I’m certainly no builder but I do know that a plumb line is used to ensure that a wall is straight and that a wall which isn’t will eventually collapse, perhaps sooner than we think!. Poor builders give the industry a bad name but, I wonder, are we as good as we can be when it comes to serving God?
God provides us with a composite plumb line, made up of His Word (our Bibles) and the gift of prayer. Two ways of checking that our wall isn’t going to collapse any time soon. Scripture provides Commandments and guidance for daily living, whilst prayer provides a permanent line of communication which allows us to seek God’s help and strength and to listen for His voice. As with a builder and their wall, we need to keep checking our wall with God’s plumb line.
Almighty God, Through Scripture and the gift of prayer, you have given us so much to ensure that our ‘wall is straight’. Help us, as we read Your Word and seek Your voice through prayer, to remain true to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
Jeff Newall, Lay Preacher, Christ the Vine Community Church (part of Woughton LEP in Milton Keynes)