Plumb Line

Plumb Line

“You are not going just to do a job, Nancy. The Lord is sending you as a plumb line into that workplace.”

Such was the matter of fact response of a dear friend at church when I shared with her the good news of being hired into what I considered my ‘plum’ job. She – and Holy Spirit – put the ‘b’ on the end of plum.

I knew what a plumb line was as I had grown up around some construction. I also knew of its reference in the Bible. When I got home, I went looking for the passage. There it was in all its context of Amos chapter 7.

Thus He showed me, and behold, the Lord was standing by a vertical wall with a plumb line in His hand. The LORD said to me, “What do you see, Amos?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “Behold I am about to put a plumb line In the midst of My people Israel. I will spare them no longer.” Amos 7:7-8 NASB

The message was pretty clear. If I substituted ‘My people Israel’ for ‘My people at ___________’ (the organization’s name), it was enough to thrill and chill. Thrill because I had been in processing for a long time and the whole of how this hiring came about was a miracle in itself. Chill because there was a weightiness to the prophetic word my friend had uttered.

In the ensuing years that I worked there, I’m sure I became in the eyes of some, a not so welcome ‘lead weight’ that is a plumb line’s definition:

plumb line is a light line with a weight (plumb bob) at one end that, when suspended next to a workpiece, defines a vertical line. “Plumb” comes from the Latin plumbum, or “lead,” the material that replaced stone as the weight for the bob or plummet. – Encyclopedia Britannica

The Lord had already removed my stony heart and replaced it with a heart of flesh (Heb. freshness)*, which was no quick and easy process; for Him – yes, for me – no. Now I was being given the next part of the mission He had purposed for me. It meant changing ‘stones’ once again. Hence, the lead weight.

In the beginning I loved my job. The first half of my years there was a welcome and long-awaited arrival in the course of my career. The plumb line dangled in the background. Or, better said, it dangled predominately within as the Lord continued setting in me the defining plumb of His Word and straightening of my walls in this building project of His.

Part of His building regs required that I experientially know it and live it before speaking.

Perhaps some of you reading this can identify. If you do, may I speak a word of encouragement to you:

His Word does not return void.

Though the plumb line word seemed irrelevant at times, He had not changed His mind since speaking through my friend several years earlier that I was going there as a plumb line. I’ve not always been the fastest learner in the west, the sharpest tool in the shed, or the brightest crayon in the box. But this I know: our God is a consuming fire and a jealous (to make zealous) God. [2]

While busy with His internal carpentry project, He lit a fire in my bones while I was following the flock (and the boss) and determined I would speak forth. I felt like Jeremiah and Amos rolled into one. [3]

When the time came to begin speaking out the message He had been preparing within, there was no escaping His burning flame. Everything else might go up in smoke, but not His Word. Or me, as long as I was obedient to His leading.

Do you know how hard it is to hang there? It’s easy for the inanimate object of a plumb line which does its job by hanging straight and true. As the weight drops down the vertical wall or workpiece, gravity takes over. In construction sites and drafting classes everywhere, the plumb line is a necessary tool for marking the center and what’s true.

However, if you’re the plumb line – like our prophetic friend, Amos and those God has called to be plumb lines – you tend to point out what’s not lined up straight. Or as F.B. Meyer put it, the plumb line is used to discover the extent of the mischief before the order for destruction is issued. There was plenty of mischief.

An essential part of operating as a plumb line is learning what to say, how to say it, and when to just hang there as a stalwart witness to the Word of God as the measure for every decision and every action. Sometimes a plumb line’s presence speaks louder than words.

And as with Amos, sometimes the plumb line constitutes a great inconvenience to those not bothered with things hanging straight and true. So the plumb line does its job, speaks as utterance is given by the Holy Spirit, and is eventually taken down from its place on the wall when the Lord says the job is done.

Yet, as with Amos and the vision of the plumb line, the Lord’s story always continues.

In the final chapter of the book of Amos, prophecy was uttered in beautiful promises to raise up the ruins, wall up the breaches, rebuild to possess the remnant, restore the captivity, rebuild the ruined cities and live in them, plant vineyards and drink their wine, make gardens and eat their fruit, to never again be uprooted from the land given them.

For plumb lines of the Lord everywhere, He never tucks us away for long once He’s brought us to a place of hanging straight and true. Wherever Holy Spirit is actively at work, there you will find a plumb line.

Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up,
that I might show My power in thee, and that My
Name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Romans 9:17

If God chose to use Pharaoh, to whom this verse refers, for destruction, much more does He choose “…to make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy which He before prepared for glory.” [4]

Blessed construction, plumb lines and vessels of mercy!

~ Nancy

[1]Ezekiel 36:26
[2]Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29
[3]Jeremiah 20:9; Amos 7:14-15
[4]Romans 9:23

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