Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Straightening Out Your Wall

"Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. 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." Amos 7:8,9
  Do you know what a plumb line is? Well, it's the string from which hangs the plumb bob of course. Oh...wait...what is a plumb bob? Well, I'm glad you asked. Let me tell you by first telling you how I know what it is.
  Needless to say that the work I now do with my hands involve  more ink pens and computer keys than hand tools and plumb lines. But, that doesn't mean I don't know about it. I grew up working on a farm where you have to learn how to be a jack of all trades and the master of many tools. Not to mention, my dad worked many years in construction, both carpentry and heavy construction. So anything I have ever learned how to do with my hands, I learned from him. And one of the things he taught me about was how to use a plumb line. 
  This simple but effective tool has been around for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians used it to build those perfectly symmetrical pyramids, many of which still stand today. It is simply a weight with a pointed tip (plumb bob), that is hung from a string (plumb line). Based on the law of gravity, that God created and maintains, when you hang the plumb bob on the plumb line, it will hang perfectly vertical.  So from that line you can judge whether whatever it is you are building is perfectly vertical or not. It's probably most often used in constructing masonry walls, but there are many other applications for it. And...there's a spiritual application too.
  God picked another man named Amos, who also grew up a farm boy, to be the prophet to tell the children of Israel that they were far away from Him. They had fallen away from the truth that God had given them, had forsaken a relationship with Him, and had even started worshiping false gods. The problem was they didn't realize they were far from God. Their spiritual walls were crooked, but they didn't notice because when each person looked around at everyone else's wall, theirs was crooked too. And when Israel as a nation looked at the nations that surrounded them, their spiritual walls were also crooked. So when you compare one crooked wall to another crooked wall, both walls tend to appear straight. But they were not. So God told them through Amos that He was standing on the wall with a plumb line in His hand. Not so that He could condemn them for being crooked, but so that He could show them how to get straight. 
  You don't have to look long or far to see that we need that same plumb line now. In the world that we live in that is so far from God, it's hard to tell what's straight and what's not. It easy to assume that just because something is widely practiced and socially acceptable that it's ok. We look around and see everyone else's wall leaning, and we as Christians feel awkward for even trying to make ours straight. But the truth is, God's plumb line still exists. The Lord said "I will set my plumbline in the midst of my people..." and no where does it ever say He removed it. And for you and I, that plumbline is His Holy Bible. It's is the only perfectly straight thing in this crooked world. And the less we read it, the more the crooked will appear to be straight. 
  If God sent this farm boy to tell you anything this morning, He sent me to tell you this. He has put a plumb line, His Word, in your life. It's there, you know it is. May be you haven't picked it up in a while, but it's there. Maybe you can't remember where you put it, but it's there. You can just google "bible" and find it at your finger's there.  And God put it there not to condemn you for your wall being crooked. He put it there to help you get it straight. And you know why He put it there? For the same reason He sent Amos to Israel...because He loves you!

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