The plumbline. Have you ever thought about the biblical plumbline? What does it have to do with me? or you? God has a standard of judgment and righteousness.
This study stems from much time in prayer and fasting as Holy Spirit began to teach me from the Old Testament whether the plumbline is applicable to us today, under the New Testament. Are you ready to dig in? He actually gave this to me one year ago this month but just now released me to write it.
You will need your Bible for this study as you’ll be turning pages with me. Don’t forget a notebook too as you may want to record what you’re learning.
In my local DIG Study group (Deep in God), we studied the first chapter of Ephesians and it is rich in reminding us who we are in Him:
- that we are spiritually rich and not spiritually poor
- we are chosen
- that we are beloved of God.
- and that He is our Father, therefore we are His children, adopted into the family of God.
I am focused on the words “hath chosen us before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love”, Ephesians 1:4. Let’s pause for a moment. We should be holy and without blame. What does this mean, exactly?
Then God spoke one word to my heart.
Old Testament Standard of Judgment and Righteousness
Are you ready to dive in to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance for the meaning? It says, Plumbline (Anak – 594) means “to be narrow”.
Amos 7:7-9 7 Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. 8 And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more: 9 And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.
These verses in Amos tell us that God set His plumbline in the midst of the Hebrew children (the Israelites) and found that they were not upright. Their sin weighed against them and God would no longer pass by them. He would now be judging them.
Turn the pages over to Isaiah 28.16-17. Let’s read this passage. Verse 16 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. 17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
This is powerful! The plumbline is made up of two pieces. A string and a plummet or weight, (Strong’s Concordance, 4949).
God tells us in verse 17 of this passage that the line represents judgment while the plummet represents righteousness and together they represent God’s standard.
The Blend of Amos and Isaiah
Looking at these two verses together we see:
- A wall, which represented Israel, built by a plumbline which was the law of Moses
- God is standing on the wall with a plumbline in His hand
- The Lord set a plumbline in the midst of His people, Israel, as they had drifted away from the law of Moses
- This plumbline is judgment and righteousness
- The plumbline is the standard that will be upheld and therefore the idolatry in the high places and the sanctuaries would be desolate and laid to waste
- God has laid a sure foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone
- The plumbline is against the refuge of lies that have a hiding place in the foundation
- His judgment and righteousness will sweep away the refuge of lies and will cleanse out the hiding place
This is Old Testament.
New Testament Standard of Judgment and Righteousness
So, how does this apply to you and I today under the New Testament?
I’m looking again at Ephesians 1:4. We live under Grace and today God is dealing with individual members of the Body of Christ. We are His Bride and He is expecting us to “be holy and without blame before Him.”
If you want to apply a standard to your life to see if you have drifted from God, you need only to look at the epistles of the Apostle Paul as they lay out how we ought to walk in Him. The righteousness of the Law of Moses is given to us as a free gift of God’s grace through faith (Romans 3:21-26, 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30). Righteousness still applies to us today.
Righteousness never goes out of style.
Oh, keep this in mind, that builders know that when a wall falls, it always falls in the direction in which it is leaning. If you’ve ever wondered about the harm in the occasional alcoholic drink, or the dangers of flirtatious behaviour, or the acceptance of lies as truth, or that puff of marijuana, remember that Christians are like walls, they too always fall in the direction in which they are leaning.
Be careful of what you are leaning toward.
You and I are the Church, His Bride.
Paul reminds us in Ephesians 5:27 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Paul also told Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:14 14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
What is “this commandment”?
Look a few verses up, at 1 Timothy 6:11, But thou, O man of God, flee these things;
What things? Do you have any idea?
Well, let’s look back a few more verses, starting with verse 4: 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
To sum up the 1 Timothy 6 verses, we learn that we should follow after righteousness, to flee the things that would ensnare us.
Without Spot and Blameless
Flip the pages over to 2 Peter 3:14 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
Let’s go back to Isaiah 28.17. The Lord dropped into my heart and pen the following:
- Lies have crept in the church body unaware, inadvertently, without awareness that they were lies.
- The lies have taken refuge in the church and grown acceptable until the truth is not appreciated or believed…or obeyed.
- God has a plumbline of judgment and righteousness and while we are under grace, we are expected to be without spot or wrinkle, without blame.
- God has not changed His standard, therefore we must accept that He is right and we are to be obedient to Him and not the lies that have embedded themselves in our framework.
- God’s foundation is a sure foundation, the lies are a false foundation and believers whose foundations are leaning, will fall sooner or later.
Wrapping it Up
There was more that He gave me during my time of prayer and fasting but that’s enough for now. Though if you really want, some of what God told me was published in this post about Halloween. This is pretty heavy stuff, don’t you think? What are we going to do with it?
Plumbline. What does it have to do with me? Everything! And for you, too! Let’s do our part and examine where we are concerning our walk with Him. Are we living holy and blameless? If not, then repentance is required and from there, we strive to live according to righteousness.
I make mistakes, you make mistakes. But thank God for His forgiveness and for new mercies each morning! Let’s walk this walk together, you and I, as we press on to live as we ought.
As always, I invite your comments, below. What do you think about the plumbline? Is it archaic? Is it for us today? Is it achievable? I’d love to hear what you think.