God’s judgment and mercy
Amos watches as God begins to judge with grasshoppers and fire. He begs God to be merciful, and God stops the judgment. No man can accuse God of being harsh or unjust. He is merciful, gracious, and kind. Even though the people of Amos’ day deserve judgment, God in His mercy stays the judgment at Amos’ request.
The plumb line
God tells Amos that He is simply going to use a plumb line with Israel. A plumb line is very simple tool that shows whether a structure is completely vertical (plumb). Even though it is such a simple device it has the highest degree of accuracy, and it does not change no matter where it may be used. It only shows that a structure is out of plumb; it does not actually change the structure. So it is with God’s Law. It is an unchanging standard that is universal in its application. It does not change anyone; it simply shows them that they are not right with God. God is telling Amos that all those who measure up to His standard will be spared and all those who do not will be judged.
For us today
The plumb line is probably one of the best illustrations of God’s Law, justice, character, and mercy. God is merciful, kind, and gracious. However, He requires us to measure up to His law. Because we do not measure up we stand condemned and worthy of judgment. This is why Jesus came. He came to save us from condemnation and judgment. He came to change our hearts and lives so that we might be upright before God. We must not bend or twist Scripture. We must exalt God’s Law and let it do its job, condemn everyone. We must then tell people to run to Jesus for forgiveness, mercy, and grace. God’s Law will change no one, but Jesus will change anyone who comes to Him in simple faith.
Will you come to Jesus so that He might forgive you and change you? Will you proclaim God’s Law without compromise and call people to come to Jesus?