The reading from the Book of Amos, Chapter 7, verses 7 and 8, is one in which a great moral lesson is taught by the Plumb Line. In all languages and in the experience of all builders the use of the plumb line in fundamental. Builders depend upon the plumb line to erect perpendiculars; buildings straight and true and upright. From the use of the plumb line, we get such words as rectitude, just, true, rightness, straightness, integrity, honesty, and many others.
"Thus he shewed me; And Behold the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb-line With a plumb-line in His hand. And the Lord said unto me: 'Amos, what seest thou?
And I said, 'A plumb-line.' Then said the Lord, 'Behold, I will set a plumb-line In the midst of my people Israel, I will not again pass by them any more.' "
The background of this Scripture from Amos is interesting. Amos was an ordinary citizen of Judea who was moved of God to go to the Northern Kingdom and point out the sins that were bringing that nation to ruin. He prophesied sometime between 783 and 745 B.C. Israel was prosperous, too prosperous, for most of the people had forgotten God and were living in a time when honor and justice were forgotten virtues. There were the very rich and the very poor and a condition wherein judges could be bought as bread or oil. The nation was crooked inside and out. God was disgusted with their evils and sins. Amos could see no hope for Israel and felt that the only remedy God had was to destroy them utterly. So this message was one of gloom and ruin.
If you read further, you will find what God meant when He said that He would not "pass by them any more." He meant that He would not visit them, He would ignore them, they would be destroyed. "And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword."
The plumb-line is an instrument of testing. God had tested the morals of Israel and found them crooked. God had tested the loyalty of Israel and found it covered with avarice, greed, and sin. This is a lesson of judgment. We are continually being judged by God's plumb-line......we as individuals, as a nation, as a world, even as Masons.