[I am podcasting this from my backyard as nightfall hastens and all of the sounds of eve ramp up…quite unbelievable really - you would think I was in the bayou somewhere. Just another North Carolina summer night. Listen? Hit the above aqua button, then the arrow]
Most of us know what keeps us going, but may I ask, what keeps you straight, pointing in the way you should go?
My dad used a plumb line to figure out what was straight while he was building. What is a plumb line?? ‘A cord weighted with lead that is used in building to check that vertical structures are true… to be certain of what is true.’ What. is. true . . . hmmm. 'Turns out the plumb line has ancient roots. The prophets Amos,1 Zechariah and Jeremiah, all referred to a plumb line.
While I do not know if I will walk Jerusalem’s hallowed corridors again, one of the most amazing things about the ancient buildings I viewed in Israel was how straight and true were the walls. This view from the ground, shoulder against the wall of the Temple in Jerusalem, looking up at the sky ... I pondered how it could be straight!
Without college-educated engineers, surveyors and modern technology, how in the world did builders manage to move the huge, heavy boulders into alignment? Scripture provides the answer, the Old Testament to be exact. A plumb line. It is used symbolically to refer to the divine standard against which God, the builder of his people, tests and judges them. It also symbolizes the standards by which God will rebuild his people.2
In a world of conflicting directional arrows, how does one know she is headed in the right direction? Is there any way to know we humans are on the right path?
Oh yes, I believe so. In fact, I know so. We can refer to the manual God gave us - the inspired words of God, which act as our plumb line ... words that have stood up to scrutiny for thousands of years, words which have stood the test of time.
In the Bible, God reveals himself, his plans, his heart and his work among his people on the pages of Scripture.
The author of Hebrews said, 'The Word of God is living and active...' 3 What an outrageous claim to make of something on a printed page! But it is true. 'It penetrates to the soul and spirit...' Images flash in my mind of times when I wanted to comfort someone, when I wanted to say something to a friend--
. . . whose wife was sick in the hospital, the prognosis not looking hopeful
. . . who needed to make some tough decisions about work that would impact his family-and the anxiety was overwhelming!
. . . who has known nothing but abandonment all her life
. . . who had broken up his family because of his immoral decisions and was now hopeless himself . .
What could I offer these who had been impressed upon my heart? Where could I go to find words filled with hope and yet truth? To the one book that could provide comfort, wisdom, guidance, promise, and forgiveness . . . the Word of God.
The Word of God has the ability to seep into the very marrow of our being to bring peace, to lead, guide, convict and offer forgiveness too. That is why it is truly ALIVE. Unlike an inspirational poem whose words bring a smile or a kind encouraging word, Scripture offers divine sustenance, which is unequaled. While we can comprehend how we got the Holy Scriptures, and how they are supported historically, scientifically, etc., apart from the Holy Spirit, there is no accounting for how God's Word is also personal, applicable and life-giving, and apropos to our daily lives!
David so eloquently wrote: 'Thy Word is a light unto my path, and a light unto my feet.'4 God's Word is a light and it also acts as a plumb line for we who believe and follow him.
And so, in short order, we will turn our attention back to the life of Paul, the happenings in the early church which have so much to say to us in 2021.
No matter our age, no matter our season or station - there is a plumb line which we can access to know truth and staying upright in it.
Your Words, Third Day - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqaA8XBI15o
Stay tuned for more of His Words...
1 - Amos 7.7-8
2 - Dictionary of Bible Themes, https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/dictionary-of-bible-themes/7254-plumb-line
3 - Hebrews 4.12
4 - Psalm 119.105