Submitted by Jan on Tue, 07/07/2015 – 11:10
Year B (2014-2015)
Bible Book: Amos
Verse: 7 – 15
In this passage, God shows Amos a wall built true to plumb, as evident by the plumb line He is holding against it. We would say the wall is level, it measures up to the standard required. In the following verse He asks Amos what he sees. I find his answer surprising: “A plumb line”. What about the wall that it measures? The plumb line is the instrument, which only has significance when it actually measures something. This is also how God applies it to Israel – He sets the plumb line among the people. He uses the instrument to measure something against it. The instrument is the standard, and it shows if what is measured meets that standard or not.
Here Israel fails the test, and will therefore not be spared. A wall that is not level should be broken down and rebuilt. A wall that is not level will not be useful, nor will it be able to remain standing. From verse 9, it would appear that the specific standard here is to serve God alone and not idols; the first two of the Ten Commandments given in Exodus 20.
In Isaiah 28:17, God also mentions the instruments of a measuring line and a plumb line. Here the standards are explicitly mentioned: justice is the measuring line, and righteousness the plumb line.
Again Israel fails the test. Brian Edgar explains justice and righteousness in this way: “…if we ask what a righteous person does the correct answer is that they do justice. The Bible is quite clear that there is an intimate connection between ‘being justified’ on the one hand, and ‘doing justice’ on the other. ‘Being justified’ not only means that we are treated as God’s children and given eternal life, but also that we are to ‘live justly’ and ‘do justice’ for others in the same way that God has done this for us.” (Biblical Justice. Brian’s Public Theology. Professor of Theological Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary)
What could He be saying to us today? Do we only see the standard – what we know is true, and what we believe? Or do we only see what we do (or more often what others do), and what we say (or what others say)? Or do we bring the two together, so we measure what we believe and know to be true against what we actually do and say? And if we do not measure up, do we bring what we do and say in alignment with His standard? Will we allow God to graciously show us the gap in our own lives? That we can break down those walls that are not true to plumb and re-build them to be in alignment to His standard?
How will I measure up to His standards of justice and righteousness?
To think about: HIV is a justice issue. Am I open to God to show me continually if there is a gap between His standard and what I say and do in my response to it?
Written by: Hannes Mentz, Church and Community Mobilisation Coordinator, Soul Action South Africa and trained Churches, Channel of Hope’ Facilitator.
Author: Mentz H (Mr)