The Plumb Line (Amos 7:7-9)

The Plumb Line (Amos 7:7-9)


  • Amos has warned the nation of Israel about their moral and religious hypocrisy.
  • He has called upon them to repent, but they have not heard.
  • At chapter 7 we saw a transition from words the Lord had spoken to Amos to visions the Lord showed Amos.
  • Last week, we considered the first two visions which dealt with the fact of judgment, of which the Lord would relent.
  • This afternoon we will see the third of Amos’s five visions, which deals with the ground of judgment.

Read Amos 7:7-9

  1. The Standard of Inspection (7)
  2. The Failure of Inspection (8)
  3. The Outcome of Inspection (9)

The Standard of Inspection (7)

  • The people will be judged according to the law God had given them from the beginning.
  • This should be no surprise to the people.
  • Obviously, after six chapters have detailed their many failures, this does not bode well for them.
  • Earthly verification of heavenly realities.
  • Greek Gods. Marduk (creator) vs Tiamat (water/chaos). Wars raged in the heavens without witness.
  • Unprovable and unobservable events. Names and places that we can’t travel to verify their existence. We can clearly see that people believed these things, but there is no observable material that corroborates the story.
  • Not so with Christianity. We have historically verifiable Scriptures (OT/NT).
  • Judeo-Christianity is uniquely verifiable.
  • God’s promises could be verified and accepted or rejected based upon the evidence.
  • Despite the amazing privilege Israel had been given, they took it for granted, presuming upon God’s grace.

Although they knew the standard…

The Failure of Inspection (8)

  • The Lord calls them “My people” for the first time in Amos. But it is followed by the devastating news that they will no longer be spared.
  • They understood God’s character from the beginning, but God gave even more evidence to Moses (Deut. 4:7-8).

NBC I will spare (‘pass over’), on Passover night they sheltered under the blood (Ex. 12:7), eating the lamb, dressed for pilgrimage (Ex. 12:11)—alive by grace, alive to walk in the Lord’s way. But Amos’s people were not true to the double standard of their constitution and could not receive ‘passover’ blessings.

  • Deut. 7:8-11 Because God had redeemed them he could make demands of them. Since the redemption was evidenced by their very existence, how could they continue to live lives of moral and spiritual corruption?

The outcome is as devastating as we have come to expect.

The Outcome of Inspection (9)

  • Three outcomes of judgment:
    1. High places made desolate – High places are man-made centres of false (Baal) religion where the lord was worshipped with Baal-rites as if he was a Canaanite god.
    2. Sanctuaries laid waste
    3. Jeroboam killed by sword

NBC There is always a true people within a professing people, a believing company within a formal grouping, a Church within a church. The plumb-line will spare such (cf. 9:8–10), but it will devastate the high places … and the sanctuaries which were festering points of delusion and the house of Jeroboam who ‘did what was evil in the sight of the Lord … and made Israel to sin’ (2 Ki. 14:24).