Summary: We are built God tough. We are built on a firm foundation and Jesus is that foundation. Today if God were to hold the plumb line up to measure your life, how would you line up with the plumb line of the perfect life of Jesus Christ how would we hold up?
Whose Line is it Anyway?
There are many times in our lives when we must make decisions/choices. We choose what type of friend we are going to hang around, and we choose the type of food we are going to eat. We make decisions about daycare and schools and jobs. We choose what to wear each day and what type of attitude we are going to have every moment of our lives. We choose whether we are going to do drugs, stay up late, or harm others or ourselves. We choose whether to make a mess or to make a difference. We choose whether to be a follower or a leader. We choose to be one who tears down with gossip or one who builds up with encouragement. We choose to be a hindrance or a help.
There is no doubt that each day of our lives, we have the opportunity to choose how we are going to respond to the many situations that face us at work, at home and even in the church. But one thing remains clear…as believers in the body of Christ; we are never without the guidance of God in our decision-making. Whether we take heed to the wisdom of the God is the question.
Our text this morning finds Amos, a shepherd from Tekoa, a harsh wilderness area from south Judah, called to speak God’s prophetic word to the people of northern Israel. Amos was a blue-collar worker coming to a white-collar society. He was use to getting down and dirty and he knew that going into northern Israel was going to be a challenge. You see during this time the people of Israel were out of order. The people were living under the rule of King Jeroboam who the Bible tells us in 2 Kings 14:24 “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord…” Jeroboam sought to build his kingdom and he was quite successful. Under his 41-year reign, northern Israel expanded and brought major prosperity to Israel, particularly to the major cities. A new class of wealthy people derived from the boom in agriculture and trade that took place. On the other hand, as the rich got richer, the poor got poorer. The social and economic abuses, together with a continuation of Baal worship, provoked sharp judgment from the prophet Amos. Although the country was prosperous, the country was out of order. Sound familiar?
Throughout the book of Amos, God shows Amos the ills of his people. God tells of the judgment of the people who do not turn from their sin. In chapter 5, God says to the house of Israel, God’s chosen people, “seek me and live; do not seek Bethel…for Bethel will be reduced to nothing”.
In Bethel…Baal worship was prominent and the people prayed to a golden calf. Jeroboam set up Bethel as a national shrine. After the split of the northern and southern kingdoms, Jeroboam established a religion that would appease his people. Baal worship became popular. It allowed for perverse acts and arrogance of nature. It did not call for people to be accountable to anyone but themselves. It said by any means necessary without consciousness. It was accepting of all, it lacked conviction; therefore, it was what was popular choice.
The Israelites had chosen to forget about God and to choose their own standards for living. They chose their own measure of what success was and how to attain it.
God called Amos into a prosperous situation to speak a convicting message. God called Amos to prophesy to a people who were comfortable being conceited and proud of being pompous. God called Amos to prophesy to people who were setting their own measure of righteousness. The Israelites were setting their own plumb line.
By whose line do you measure yourself today? Is it the world’s plumb line or God’s plumb line?
You see a plumb line is a cord tied onto a weight that ancient construction workers used as a tool to build a truly vertical wall. To see if it was straight, built correctly, without flaw. In Amos 7, we see God holding His plumb line next to the spiritual condition of Israel.
Walk with me through 2 points that God would have me lift from our text this morning.
POINT 1: Crooked walls
Every now and then, I am able to catch an episode of the improvisational show Whose Line Is It Anyway, hosted by Drew Carey. Audience members are able to participate in several instances and the actors easily play off the scenarios or the actions of the audience members. The show offers a half hour of sheer enjoyment and it shows us just how quickly people are able to conform to any given situation.
I realized that every day we are actors conforming to situations. We go from one situation in our lives to the next creating a number of impromptu characters. The persons that we create may be harmless people. They are the mother, sister, and daughter; the son, brother, uncle and father…the pastor, the wife, and the teenager struggling to be an individual; the steward, the caregiver, the employee, the teacher, and the trustee; the student…the housekeeper, the cook, and the chauffeur. We are Wonder Woman and Superman to all who look at us from the outside, but are we “plumb” with God on the inside. The popular slogan WWJD has taken the world by storm. It reminds us that it is our struggle each day to ask ourselves “What Would Jesus Do” with every situation in our lives. We struggle constantly to be the men and women that God calls us to be.