From Rev Dr Tom Nibbe
The remarkable comment of King Herod about Jesus...
"John, the man I have beheaded, has been raised from the dead!" (Mark 6:16)
The remarkable comment of Saint Paul in Ephesians...
"you were marked in Him with a seal of the promised Holy Spirit" (Ephesians 1:13c)
"I'd rather scrub floors in the house of my God than be honored as a guest in a sinful palace" (Psalm 84:10b - Eugene Peterson's translation - The Message)
"I will spare them no longer" (Amos 7:7-15)
We could perhaps say that God has His limits when it comes to "drawing the line" in allowing His people to act out...
"The Plumb Line" means that God is getting ready to judge,
In the Bible when God begins to measure length or weight, the reader can be sure that the people haven't measured up to God's requirements...He won't be visiting the people with His prophet any longer.
"...righteousness goes before Him and prepares the way for His steps..." (Psalm 85:13)
"...and He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Christ to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment---to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ..." (Ephesians 1:9)
A Thought Or Two
"...man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges and the infinity in which he is engulfed..." (Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662)
"...big ideas are so hard to recognize, so fragile, so easy to kill...don't forget that, all of you who don't have them..." (John Elliot, Jr.)
We glorify your name forever...great is your love...you have delivered us from the depths of the grave. The arrogant may attack us, O God; a band of ruthless people may seek our lives---people without respect for you and your Word... but you, O Lord, are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. We commend ourselves into your care this day. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Grace and peace in transitional times! I want to thank you for your patience in connecting up with the message for today. Priscilla and I have been dealing with a remodeling of our kitchen, (we're living in our dining room while drinking out of water bottles)...and in addition, yesterday was my 78th birthday...time ran short for completing the message that normally comes out to you.
However, the insight I received in the Lord in terms of these Scriptural passages is worthy of comment.
I have given the message title as "the plumb line". In the past I had considered the functional use of the plumb line in construction as a measuring device, and finally, came to the conclusion that "the measuring line" in the Bible --- at least --- in Isaiah 28:17, Jeremiah 31:38-39, and also Zechariah 2:1-2 --- indicated that God (Yahweh) was at the end of His rope in terms of putting up with the wayward tendencies of His people and was about to judge them... and judge them harshly. I also came to the conclusion that God did so, not so much to harshly punish them, as much as free them from themselves.
This quote, of course, isn't expressed in a time and place a person might think. The "affirmative sense" of the passage seems out of place. Jerusalem is being rudely and completely destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar. It is the most horrible event in the history of Israel, with the exception the death of Jesus on the cross. The assumed author is Jeremiah himself. In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, the prophet is able to "vision" beyond the obvious total destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC to a more profound sense of what it is to be the People of God...the "plumb line" scenario has literally moved from proclamation to become a stark reality.
This notion gives us the idea that God will hold us responsible for what we do, how we act...perhaps in anger (which scares some of us)...but with great compassion to allow us the privilege of envisioning a broader, higher, and more profound vision and of what it means to take faith, live in a real world, and experience Spiritual awareness we wouldn't have without the prophetic "plumb line". Sitting here in the present, the idea of God getting ready to bring about judgment, and all that may do to impact my life and those around me, makes me sit up and take notice. At the same time, the affirmation of the prophet Jeremiah in Lamentations gives us great hope that no matter what happens, we can trust that God knows what He is doing and we will prosper, and spiritually so, not matter what may befall us in terms of what happens all around.
With that thought in mind, I would like to turn to what I consider to be the most profound passage in all of Scripture. As I do that I want to put forth John 3:16 NIV (For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.) and Deuteronomy 6:4-5 NIV (Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.) as manifestly essential Scriptural points of focus in our faith lives.
The Scriptural passage I am referring to is:
Ephesians 1:9 - He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
In this passage Saint Paul wants to present to us the mystery of God's will, and in addition, the Lord's good pleasure for the present position and the future of His Holy Church, the world and it's people, and the universe.
There is a direct connection between "the plumb line" in the Old Testament passages, and the profound nature of God to get our attention, a means to allow us freedom, but not to the extent that we fall into life-styles and means of living that are not in line with the mystery of God's will to bring all things together in heaven and on earth under one head. That "one head" would be the ultimate, eternal kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ.
How that will be brought about, we are not quite sure, but we have the assurance that we are part of that great plan of convergence, and that, the Lord will not abandon us in the process...once again...in the midst of our human failings... we need always to place our trust in Him...
"...the Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him...to the one who seeks Him...it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord..." (Lamentations 3:25-26)
Just stay in there with Jesus. Cordially, Tom