THE PLUMB-LINE HAS BEEN SET – HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP? - Amos 7

Shabbat Shalom,

Yoḥanan/John 15:22 “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

In making it very clear to His taught ones, יהושע Messiah was emphasising the reality that no one has an excuse to not know Him; and no one has an excuse to not walk in His Torah and follow Him as they should! In fact we know that since the foundation of the world, man has had no excuse to not know Elohim, yet most continued to ignore Him and refused to acknowledge or esteem Elohim:

Romiyim/Romans 1:20-21 “For since the creation of the world His invisible qualities have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, both His everlasting power and Mightiness, for them to be without excuse, 21 because, although they knew Elohim, they did not esteem Him as Elohim, nor gave thanks, but became vain in their reasonings, and their undiscerning heart was darkened.

While creation itself gives clear witness of the invisible qualities of Elohim, man has vainly pursued various reasonings in order to explain our existence and purpose. In the process, man has become so corrupt in seeking to build a kingdom of self and self-reliance, so much so that the reality of man’s need to trust and rely upon our Creator has been set aside in man’s vain attempts at achieving success according to the fleshly ways of the world, while departing from the clear need to walk in His Torah. This vain search for success and purpose has caused many to stumble in their faith, as the theologies and dogmas of man have twisted the Truth in order to assume a control over the masses. By the time that Messiah had come, the religious systems of man-made worship had been enforced upon the masses, and this heavy yoke of man-made rules and regulations was what He came to confront and destroy, in order to set us free from the enslavement to heavy burdens that that were imposed upon us through traditions and lies, in order for us to take up His easy yoke and be built up as true living stones in Him. While the clear standards for righteousness had been clearly been made known from the beginning, and then given to a nation whom Elohim chose to set-apart unto Himself to be a light to the nations, we know that His set-apart and called out nation departed from walking in the Truth, as they allowed the crookednesses of the flesh to lead the way, in building according to their own twisted standards that had been easily influenced by the nations that they were to overcome and destroy, resulting in an assumed ‘building of Elohim’, that had departed from the Creators Plumb-Line and had become a dwelling place where Elohim could not reside. By Messiah coming in the flesh, in order to destroy that which had been made in falsehood, the Plumb-Line of Elohim had now been set in the midst of humanity, and in Messiah, the true Dwelling Place could now be built up according to His set-apart standards as given through His Torah, which Messiah came to make clearly known to us, in how we should walk in it, as we walk in Him! As we consider how our own lives are measuring up to the clear plumb-line of the Truth, and how we are being built up in The Master, we need to continually assess how the building process in going! In a message tonight called, “THE PLUMB-LINE HAS BEEN SET – HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP?”, I hope that we carefully consider the need to make sure that the sure and straight plumb-line of His Word is being consistently checked in how we are being built up as living stones in our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah.

Please turn with me to Amos 7 (Read)

Amos was a herdsman from Teqowa, which was a small town in the hill country of Yehuḏah, and was called by יהוה to announce the coming judgement of יהוה upon Yisra’ĕl, calling them to repentance and to turn from their sin and idolatry. These events took place shortly before the Northern Kingdom of Yisra’ĕl went into Assyrian captivity, and Amos being raised up as a prophet was an act of the kindness and mercy of יהוה to a people who had continually shunned and disobeyed Him and His instructions. עָמוֹס Amos – Strong’s H5986 means burden or ‘burden bearer’, as his name comes from the root עָמַס amas – Strong’s H6006 which means, to load, carry a load, lift up and take a burden, and at its root can carry the understanding of encouragement, as one would lift or carry the load of another! This word is used in:

Tehillim/Psalm 68:19 “Blessed be יהוה, day by day He bears our burden, the Ěl of our deliverance! Selah.

We are also told to bear one another’s burdens in:

Galatiyim/Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so complete the Torah of Messiah.

The word in Greek for ‘bear’ is βαστάζω  bastazō – Strong’s G941take up, carry, bear, endure. Once again we see the critical need for us to be a people who are lifted up and enlisted to serve Messiah must ‘lift each other up’ so that  - WE COMPLETE THE TORAH OF MESSIAH!

I love this verse as it clearly throws out any erroneous notion that the Torah has been done away with. The word used for ‘complete’ is ἀναπληρόω  anaplēroō – Strong’s G378 and means, to fill up, complete, fill up the measure, supply, cause to happen. What this word implies is that we fully meet the requirements needed to do that which is required, and fully measure up to the standard required, in order to do or complete the task at hand. It comes from two words - ἀνά  ana – Strong’s G303 meaning, up, upwards, back and πληρόω  plēroō – Strong’s G4137 meaning, to make full, complete, accomplish’. And this means, in essence, to fully meet what is required and does not mean ‘to be finished and be done with’. This same root word is used in Greek translation of the words spoken by Messiah in:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 5: 17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to complete.

The Greek word here for complete is πληρόω  plēroō!!!! The people who think that the Torah has been done away with actually, “THINK NOT”!!! They do not understand what Messiah is saying here – He is telling us clearly that the Torah has not been done away with – on the contrary, what He is saying is that He came to fully meet its requirements and these requirements of His Torah are still applicable, as He made it clear that not one jot or tittle shall pass from the Torah until all is done – until heaven and earth pass away! Now heaven and earth are still around and so is the Torah!!! Why I love the passage from Galatiyim/Galatians above is that, clearly, we too are to ‘complete’ – that is to fully meet the requirements of the Torah, as we walk in Messiah and guard all His commands.

This is our service and our duty, as a set-apart nation, a chosen people, a royal priesthood!!! And this we are to do as we bear each other’s burden’s as we encourage each other along the way, ensuring that we are being built up together as a set-apart dwelling place of the Most High that is built according to His standards, clearly given to us in His Torah and revealed to us through the life, death and resurrection of Messiah!

Let us get back to Amos – Amos, the ‘burden bearer’ was ‘herdsman’ from ‘Teqowa’. The Hebrew word used for ‘herdsman’ is נֹקֵד noqed – Strong’s H5349 which means, sheep raiser, sheep dealer, sheep tender, and literally speaks of one who manages the flock. תְּקוֹעַ Teqowa – Strong’s H8620 means, a stockade, and gives us a picture of ‘a sheepfold’, and comes from the root word תָּקַע taqa – Strong’s H8628 that means, to thrust, clap, blow, give a blast, trumpeter. I find this very interesting, as יהוה took a shepherd who knew how to count and look after sheep, from a place that can, at its root, mean “trumpet”  in order to loudly proclaim His Word to a people who were headed for destruction:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 58:1 “Cry aloud, do not spare. Lift up your voice like a ram’s horn. Declare to My people their transgression, and the house of Yaʽaqoḇ their sins.

This is exactly what Amos was called for! And in many ways, this is what we are all called for, as we are to be loud in our proclamation of the truth, bearing the burden of encouraging one another daily, as we look out for each other, warn each other, and together raise the shout of our Coming King!

He prophesied while both kingdoms of Yisra’ĕl were prospering greatly and were expanding their territories, having taken hold of many important trade routes. As prosperous as they had become they were, at the same time, becoming more corrupt in their government and exploited the poor and needy, and most of all, had forgotten that they were a set-apart people unto יהוה. Although they were seemingly very ‘religious’, it was all superficial. Yehuḏah was under the reign of the wicked king Reḥaḇ’am and the northern tribes were under the reign of a terrible and wicked king Yaroḇ’am who had introduced his own form of worship systems and built many altars on many of the high places and syncretized pagan worship practices with an attempt at claiming to worship יהוה.

In this book of Amos we are able to see the clear words of warning that he was called to proclaim, as we collectively see in this short and very powerful book, In Chapters 1-2 there are 8 oracles of judgement that Amos was to announce against the surrounding nations, climaxing with judgement against Yisra’ĕl. He was then given 3 clear messages of condemnation and pending judgement that was given to Yisra’ĕl from Chapters 3-5. A key phrase seen in these 3 messages at the beginning of each chapter is, “Hear this word…” And clearly the same message is as loud and clear today – “Hear this word!!!” – He who has ears let him hear…! These were not ‘nice ear tickling words’ – these were heart cutting, bone cutting sermons that Amos gave – words that need to be spoken today to get a lost and deceived people to return to יהוה.

Chapter 6 contained a very serious woe against false securities, and then here in Chapter 7 we see the beginning of 5 visions that Amos was given, 3 of which are contained in this chapter we have read tonight and the other two running through to Chapter 9:10, ending with a very clear conclusion that does not just simply contain a message of doom and gloom, as there is also contained herein, at the end of this book, the promise of restoration. Yes, יהוה will destroy all sense of false securities that many have in order to bring them back to Himself. There are so many forms of false security today – people put their security in their false religions or vainly taught traditions and theologies of man, in their jobs or social status, in their insurance policies, in their stocks and possession etc. These are all going to come crashing down, and those who do not put their hope in the Master and Completer of our faith, יהושע Messiah, will die!

However the Promise to those who seek Him and His Righteousness, living according to the plumb-line of His Word, will see and witness and be a part of a wonderful restoration, where the Booth of Dawiḏ will be raised up, having Messiah reign in our midst; and there will be abundance, rebuilding and a permanent possession of the Promise given to the Covenanted people of יהוה!

Let us therefore take a brief look at the three visions that Amos was given here in Chapter 7, with the major emphasis on the 3rd vision, that of the Plumb-Line!

The first two visions that he is given, after having been given 8 oracles of judgment to be pronounced and 3 clear messages of condemnation, gripped Amos to the point where he interceded with an urgent plea for יהוה to relent from allowing these to happen!

Vision 1 – Swarming locusts (7:1-3) This vision was a picture of complete devastation that was decreed and Amos cries out to יהוה and intercedes – יהוה then relents and says that it shall not be. Amos knew that Ya’aqob would not survive such an onslaught from יהוה. This vision of swarming locusts coming to eat up the crop after the mowing’s of the kings share, was at the nation’s most vulnerable part of the year. The locusts were being loosed on the land after the king’s share had been harvested and just as the second crop was coming up. The king had the right to claim the first cutting of the grain for his military animals. The ‘late crop’ was what grew after the first cutting or a separate late planting—which was the final growth of the season before the summer’s dryness. If it were lost the people would have nothing to eat until the next harvest. A locust swarm was one of the most dreaded plagues known to hit any nation. As a swarm of locusts made its way across the land, the people would be in despair as it was an enemy against whom they were completely helpless. When a locust plague had passed, intense suffering and death by famine usually followed. This misery was intensified in Yisra’ĕl, for locusts were recognized as Elohim’s instrument of punishment for covenant violations. Yisra’ĕl had broken covenant and the clear announcing of judgment was being decreed. Amos saw that this judgment would not be a judgment that a guilty Ya’aqob could survive, despite their clear arrogance and guilt! While Yisra’ĕl was unrepentant and their punishment just, Amos pleaded with Elohim to relent! Herein lies a great lesson for us, in showing us the power of intercession for others! What we must also realise here is that while this punishment was withdrawn, the nation was not yet forgiven! While he certainly asked for forgiveness here, we take note that he did not ask for that again, as it was inevitable that the decreed judgment against a sinning nation would be brought forth by a just and righteous Elohim!

Vision 2 – Consuming Fire (7:4-6) This was a vision of destruction, and again Amos intercedes and יהוה once again relents and says it shall not be. If seeing a vision of swarming locusts devouring the land was not enough, Amos is given a further vision of complete terror – and that is judgement by fire! This vision of the fire of judgement that consumes the land reminds us of that which we see in:

Yo’ĕl/Joel 1:19-20 “I cry to You יהוה, for fire has consumed the pastures of the wilderness, and a flame has set on fire all the trees of the field. 20 Even the beasts of the field cry out to You, for the water streams are dried up, and fire has consumed the pastures of the wilderness.

The picture of this judgment of fire consuming all was intense, as we see here in Yo’ĕl the intensity of the coming wrath of Elohim that is to come as destruction from the Almighty on the Day of יהוה that is near! Amos pleaded for יהוה to stop this consuming fire that Ya’aqob would clearly not survive, and יהוה then decreed that it would not be so.

We then come to the 3rd vision that Amos is given, and that is of a plumb-line that was set in the midst of Yisra’ĕl, and this was not a vision that could or would be relented of! This vision was unalterable, and we are able to see here the clear picture of the fulfilling of the Appointed Times of Elohim being decreed as set and unchangeable, from the beginning of time!

The plumb-line of יהוה is a picture of Righteousness and Right Ruling being set in the midst of Yisra’ĕl, a plumb-line exposing the wickedness and crookedness of all that they have done. יהוה was setting a plumb-line in the midst of His people, and no longer would He pardon them for their unrighteousness! There would be no more a pleading of ignorance – and herein lies the clear picture for us, showing us that He has given us His Torah and The Torah was, in essence, made flesh, as יהושע Messiah (The true plumb-line of Elohim) was set in our midst and dwelt among us to show us the way. There is now no excuse – we follow Him, and walk in His Torah or face the judgement of lawless living!

Ma’asei/Acts 17:30-31 “Truly, then, having overlooked these times of ignorance, Elohim now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has set a day on which He is going to judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed, having given proof of this to all by raising Him from the dead.

High places will be destroyed and all religious and political structures will be demolished, having been revealed as crooked against the plumb-line of His Word. Amatsyah the corrupt priest told Amos to shut up and leave; and Amos stands up and stands firm to the call of יהוה. He may have not had all the education of the priest – yet He knew the Truth and stood firm, not cowering under the assumed position of a man who was nothing more than a false priest that was conformed to a twisted religion set up by Yaroḇ’am.

What is a plumb-line? The Hebrew word used here for ‘plumb-line’ is אֲנָךְ anaḵ – Strong’s H594 which means, to plummet, plumb-line, lead-weight’. It is a length of string or light rope with a weight (Latin - plumbum, meaning, ‘lead’) attached at one end that, when suspended by the other end, will show a true vertical line. It is used in the construction of any object that needs to be vertically true, such as a wall of a building or a fence. Today a similar tool called a water level is used. What יהוה was showing Amos here in this vision was clear – that measured against His Torah, Yisra’ĕl was way out of line and did not measure up to the true building standards that He had set for His called out and chosen nation that was to be set-apart!

While this rebellious nation may have escaped the visions of being completely destroyed by locusts and fire, what they could not escape was the clear judgement of being measured up against the plumb-line of His Word and instructions for righteousness!

The plumb line is a regulation appliance and a testing instrument with which the building must give an account or match and be true.

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 28:16-17 “Therefore thus said the Master יהוה, “See, I am laying in Tsiyon a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a settled foundation. He who trusts shall not hasten away. 17 And I shall make right-ruling the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet. And the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lying, and the waters overflow the hiding place.

The Hebrew word used here for ‘plummet’ is מִשְׁקֶלֶת mishqeleth – Strong’s H4949 which means, a levelling instrument, plummet which is the feminine of the word מִשְׁקָל mishqal – Strong’s H4948 which means, weight, full, rationed amounts, which comes from the root word שָׁקַל shaqal – Strong’s H8254 which means, to weigh, pay, receive, to weigh out a price, and we take note that this word is used in:

Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 11:12 “And I said to them, “If it is good in your eyes, give me my wages. And if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.

Zeḵaryah was then told to throw the 30 pieces of silver into the House of יהוה for the potter, and we know that this was the amount that Yehuḏah received for the betrayal of the Master, which he  threw back into the Dwelling Place before he went out and hung himself. What we take note of from these accounts is that יהושע Messiah is the Plumb-Line that was set in our midst!

As we look at the imagery of the plumb line, we know that it pictures for us the standard of righteousness: Righteousness is to guard to do all that Elohim has commanded us to do (Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:25).The clear plumb-line of righteousness is measured against the clear Torah and instructions of Elohim!

The Word of Elohim is the plumb line, exposing every deviation from the moral perpendicular. In other words, יהוה’s Word reveals any crookedness, as it is used to measure the standards it has set forth, and Messiah came in the flesh to reveal in our very midst the clear standard that is to be kept, showing us the Way we are to follow, as we stay in Him and walk as He walked! With the plumb-line having been placed in our midst, and there now being no excuse, we recognise that there comes with this, the needed testing!

THE TESTING - is to apply the plumb-line to the wall, so as to reveal irregularity if it exists. We take careful note here that by this vision being made very clear to Amos, it tells us that the true testing of righteousness cannot be put off, for the Word has been made known and clear to all. Ignorance cannot be claimed, as Messiah has made His Word abundantly clear, as He came to be in our midst, in order that we could be weighed, measured and built up as true living stones! His Word must test us on a daily basis to see if we are being built upright in Him or not! יהוה has only one standard, and He uses it always! Things are ought to be as He made them, and He comes and measures up or tests us to discover if we are being built according to His clear standards sets forth in His Torah. All of the wall must be tested before it can all be destroyed! In other words a full inspection would take place in order for the results of the test to be complete in its revelation of the crookedness and defects. We recognise our need to be guarding His commands, as individuals, so as to not cause a breach in the wall, and cause the entire wall to be shown as crooked. The sin of one can affect the many, and there is no partiality with Elohim – His standard is for us all! We, as living stones, have a huge responsibility toward each other, in bearing each other’s burdens and encouraging each other on a daily basis to remain true to the plumb-line of the Word, or else the breach of one could render the entire wall vulnerable to destruction!

Yisra’ĕl had failed the test and the destruction of their idolatrous worship would come swift!

Yaroḇ’am had set up idolatrous worship sites in Bĕyth Ĕl and Dan, where he had made two golden calves, one for each site, in order to keep the northern tribes of Yisra’ĕl from going to Yerushalayim. He had set up a false priesthood and built false worship sites that would be used to gain control over his reign! What we need to recognise here is the clear truth of how all man-made religious and political structures will be demolished!

This is what Messiah came to tell us when He told His taught ones who marvelled at the building structure of the Temple, that not one stone would left upon another but that all would be thrown down.

The twisted religious systems of man had corrupted the Word of Truth to something that could not be presented as Truth, against the Plumb-Line of the Torah; and they sought to kill Messiah, when He told them to destroy the Dwelling Place and He would raise it in 3 days! He was speaking of His body, as the physical building that had been built had been turned into a corrupt house of merchandise.

Just as our Master was persecuted for speaking out against a corrupt worship system, so too do we see how Amos was told to go and speak the Truth to a corrupt people, and he was ridiculed and told to get out! He remained steadfast in declaring that he was only speaking what יהוה had told him to, and while it was not his profession, he recognised how יהוה had taken him from behind his flock to prophesy to Yisra’ĕl! What we must take note of here is that just as Amos was told to speak out against the corrupt worship of the House of Yisra’ĕl, so to do each and every one of us need to be bold in our standing up for the Truth. While some might think that they have a day job and it is not there place to speak up, we must realise that it is each and every one’s responsibility to stand up and proclaim righteousness, even within the workplace. However, before this can be done, each one must look intently into the mirror of the Word and check to see if they are living according to the clear plumb-line of the Torah!

How do you measure up? Are you, like Amos, being faithful in your daily walk, so much so that Elohim can use you to speak with great boldness and courage in the face many who are not upright in their claim of faith in the Master, as they do not walk as He did? Or are you like Amatsyah that refuses to hear the Truth that the true servants of Elohim are proclaiming, and in the process shut your ears to the Truth and dismiss it as irrelevant!

For far too long many of us, if not all, had been following a false plumb-line of man-made traditions that caused us to be so far off the mark, that we were headed for a sure destruction. With the clear revelation of the True Plumb-Line being in our midst, we now have the wonderful opportunity to be built up in the Master as an upright people who are living set-apart lives, measured continually against the straight Plumb-line of His Word. His Plumb-Line has been set – how do you measure up? What ‘building blocks’ of self, if any, need to be removed from your life? What ‘stumbling blocks’ need to be cleared away – be it a fear of man, worries of life or the deceit of wealth, or any other compromising standards that may have been built up in your life? His Torah and its requirements have been set in our midst and made clear through the life, death and resurrection of Messiah, giving us now no excuse to not be built up as we should.

While the world continues to erect many false systems of security, let us be true to the full assurance we have in our Master, as we remain in Him, that He remain in us, being fully equipped, as Amos, to boldly make know the truth and declare with confidence the hope we have in our Master who builds us!

While many may think that the judgement of locusts and fire may escape them, what cannot be escaped is the righteous standards and judgment of His Word that has been set, and does not change! While the judgements of the swarming locusts and fire were relented of before the Plumb-line had been set, we must realise that with the Plumb-Line having been set in our midst, that the righteous and just standard of living shall and will be judged in righteousness, and those who refuse to adhere to the clear standards of the Torah and instructions of our Master and refuse to measure up to His Plumb-Line, may just find themselves facing the coming locust and fire judgements of Elohim!

It is time for true worshippers to worship according to the true Plumb-Line, and get rid of the rubble of self! What we also must take note of here is that the locust swarm is coming and the fire of Elohim is coming, as Ḥazon/Revelation 9 clearly shows us the coming judgements that is coming upon mankind as the 5th and 6th messengers sound their trumpets. These events take place after the sealing of the true servants of Elohim – that is those that have measured up against the Plumb-Line and have been built up in the Master, through complete submission to walking in and guarding His commands, marked by compete obedience to His Torah! Woe to those who refuse to submit to the Plumb-Line that has been set in our midst!

THE PLUMB-LINE HAS BEEN SET – HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP?

Amos is an amazing book that carries great insight and instructions for us today – it also brings reproof and correction and training in righteousness that we are to heed and in a nutshell it speaks the following:

יהוה rules over all – He is יהוה of Hosts; and Yisra’ĕl, His called out and set-apart Bride, was supposed to shine His light in a dark world, yet they failed as they allowed the darkness of the world to cause the light to be diminished through corruption, idolatry and rebellion; and as a result judgement was decreed, leaving a remnant that would be established and rebuilt. Our call today is to heed these messages Amos gave, cling to יהוה and continue seeking Him and His righteousness, overcoming  all in our Master, so that we will have life in abundance in Messiah. We can hold on to that hope right now, and I believe that the remnant sifting is taking place and  יהוה is calling forth many to speak His Truth and intercede for many who have been deceived into following lies, as many of us were. But remember this – being a part of יהוה’s people does not exempt one from judgement!!!

There is no escape clause when it comes to sin and lawlessness – Judgement is coming – may we be a people who seek יהוה and live:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 55:6-7 “Seek יהוה while He is to be found, call on Him while He is near. 7 Let the wrong forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Let him return to יהוה, who has compassion on him, and to our Elohim, for He pardons much.

This book of Amos is alive for us today – may we be the Amos of our day, willing to bear the burden of interceding and calling a people back to יהוה, aměn!

THE PLUMB-LINE HAS BEEN SET – HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP?

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!