A must-see for tourists visiting Italy is the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Tuscany. The 8-story tall cathedral bell tower, completed in 1370, was once upright. Today, however, it's tilted. In 1990, the tower's top was 15 feet (4.5m) off vertical and the whole thing was in danger of toppling. So it underwent 12 years of extensive stabilizing work, and, for the first time since the 12th century, the tower finally stopped tilting. It was declared "safe for the next 300 years" in 2001.

In the third of 5 visions given to Amos, God is seen holding a plumb line beside a wall that "had been built using a plumb line" (7:7). Israel was built according to the plumb line. Just 3 months after exiting Egypt (Exodus 19:1-2), God gave Israel His commandments (ch. 20), to be a holy nation (19:6). God established a clear standard: "You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy" (Leviticus 19:2).

Seven hundred years later, God plumb-lined His people "to see if [they were] still straight" (Amos 7:7). And, like the leaning Tower of Pisa, Israel had become seriously tilted. God could not ignore the aberrant angle (v.8). A wall in danger of collapsing had to be toppled (v.9).

God has set His standards for us in His Word. We're to live holy and godly lives (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8; 2 Peter 3:11). One day, we too will be plumb-lined. Yet, God is patient with us, for He wants us to repent (Romans 2:4-6; 2 Peter 3:9,15). But we shouldn't take His patience for granted. For there will come a time when He says, "Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer" (Amos 7:8 NIV).

When God uses His plumb line, will you be found upright or tilted? , K.T. Sim, Our Daily Journey