I am amazed by skilled carpenters. My father-in-law is one. He has often stated that you can do anything with the right tools. I am not sure I could, but I am confident he could. Over the years I have received many tools from him. Usually, it is a gift given when he realizes I don’t have what he needs to complete a particular job he is doing for me at my house. Most of my tools look as good as new.
In the Bible we find many types of imagery such as agricultural and yes construction. There are a couple places in Scripture where a plumb line is mentioned. Builders use a plumb line consisting of a cord that has at one end a weight acting as a plumb bob to determine if something is straight and square.
The prophet Isaiah proclaimed:
“Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ And I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plumb line; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter” (Isa 28:16-17).
Here the plumb line is defined as justice and righteousness. Another word is upright, a synonym of vertical. God judges what is upright by his standards, a divine plumb line.
The prophet Amos also used this imagery of a plumb line:
“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. 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’” (Amos 7:7-8).
Here God is speaking about the false religion found in Israel. God uses His divine plumb line to measure if the people of Israel are upright. God is testing the spirituality, morality, and genuineness of the people against His standard.
The idea of a spiritual standard of measure is also found in the New Testament. God uses similar imagery such as a measuring rod (Rev 11:1). To the Laodicean church, God uses fire to refer to a test instead of a plumb line (Rev 3:14-22).
God’s Word is the primary vehicle the Lord provides for us to test whether or not we are upright or plumb. James writes:
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing” (James 1:23-25).
For believers, the Word of God is a looking glass revealing the true nature of their heart and works. God’s Word is not meant to enslave us to work for righteousness. The Bible is our mirror, not our master. But, it does help us determine if we are upright or if there is something in our life that is not plumb or square. The Bible does not condemn a believer but may bring conviction of a particular action that needs to be taken to align self with the Lord. As we partner with the Spirit, exploring God’s Word, we provided an excellent opportunity to see areas in our life that need work as well as be equipped and empowered to have these adjustments made to more clearly reflect Christ.
One thing I have discovered over the years is that the more you use a tool, the better you get at using it. God’s Word is the same. I pray as each of us will allow God’s divine plumb line to reveal where we are in our spiritual journey with Him and let Him lead us in the mission of reflecting Him as His beautiful workmanship.
It is a joy serving alongside each of you. Let’s encourage one another to engage God’s divine plumb line, the Bible. Let’s support one another to take the next step the Lord is calling us to make by His power and grace.