My wife left the TV on yesterday, and I heard this guy talking about September 11, 2001. He played a video of Senator Tom Daschle quoting from Isaiah, chapter 9.
“The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.”
Daschle’s speechwriter knew he wanted a Bible quote that said we would rebuild. He certainly didn’t read this quote in context, though! If he had, he might have found another quote, instead! Here is the passage, in context:
Isaiah 9:8-10 ‘The Lord has sent a word against Jacob, and it will fall on Israel; and all the people will know, Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, who say in pride and in arrogance of heart: “The bricks have fallen, but we will build with dressed stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will put cedars in their place.”‘ [ESV]
The Lord our God is not impressed with us when, in our “pride and arrogance,” we ignore His warnings. The people of Israel had turned away from God, and ceased to honor God’s Law, given through Moses. So God had sent an oppresser nation against Israel, to warn them, to bring them back.
Isaiah 9:11-12 ‘But the LORD raises the adversaries of Rezin against him, and stirs up his enemies. The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.’
Okay, God had given them a stern warning. What did the people of Israel do?
Isaiah 9:13-16 ‘The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the LORD of hosts. So the LORD cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day — the elder and honored man is the head, and the prophet who teaches lies is the tail; for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up.’
And don’t think, “Well, God must see some people are worth saving!” God doesn’t quite see it that way!
Isaiah 9:17 ‘Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.’
And why is this pride and arrogance so wicked?
Isaiah 9:18-21 ‘For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke. Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts the land is scorched, and the people are like fuel for the fire; no one spares another. They slice meat on the right, but are still hungry, and they devour on the left, but are not satisfied; each devours the flesh of his own arm, Manasseh devours Ephraim, and Ephraim devours Manasseh; together they are against Judah. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.
So, have we learned anything, People? If God will deal with His Chosen People this way, what makes you think He will go easier on anyone else?
We received many warnings. September 11, 2001, was just one in a series. But have we “turned to Him who struck us?” Can we?