Amos now speaks of further visions that the Lord gave him. The first 2 concerned judgments on Israel: a plague of locusts and a massive fire. These indicated that a pair of devastating natural disasters would completely obliterate the nation beyond recovery. The Lord relented after Amos objected. Then He showed the prophet a vision of a plumb line. This is a measuring tool used by contractors to determine a straight edge. The Lord was going to measure Israel against His plumb line, His standard of perfection. The people thought they were righteous, religious and blessed because they assumed that they were so close to God. Yet the Lord was showing them that they did not measure up to His righteousness. Therefore, judgment would no longer be delayed.
At some point Amaziah the high priest at Bethel objected to Amos’ message for it reflected badly on him, the King and the nation to tell them they were unrighteous. The priest tried to silence Amos by appealing to vanity and greed, projecting his own values onto Amos. Amos could not disobey God. He made further statements of judgment against Jeroboam, Israel and Amaziah. No one can stand up against God’s standard of perfection, so all must be judged. We cannot then appeal to God’s justice to save us for that will only bring down His punishment. We must appeal to His mercy by acknowledging our sinfulness and inability to save ourselves. The only way human beings can avoid God’s just punishment for sin is by accepting the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of all. Jesus meets the standard of God’s plumb line so all in Him will meet that standard as well.