8 The Lord has sent a message against Jacob; it will fall on Israel.
9 All the people will know it—Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—who say with pride and arrogance of heart,
10 “The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.
The source of all pride is the heart and it is also the source of all arrogance as noted in verse nine. So what is going on here anyway?
The northern kingdom, Israel also known as Ephraim, and Samaria had been making war unsuccessfully against the kingdom of Judah as noted yesterday. In doing so, they sustained real damage to their kingdoms. In their defeat against a weak frightened enemy – Judah, a defeat ordained by God, they simply said, “The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars” with great pride and arrogance.
There was no thought given to repentance, to turning to God. Instead they were simply going to now build with stone and replace the wood from fig trees with the wood from cedars. They did not need God and were going to go forward without Him doing what they thought to be best.
It is interesting that the words of verse ten were repeated by the leader of the US Senate Tom Daschle one day after September 11, 2001. Little did he realize he was quoting a curse Israel put on itself by ignoring God. These verses resulted in a documentary titled The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment: Is There an Ancient Mystery that Foretells America’s Future? and a book The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery that Holds the Secret of America’s Future. Even Wikipedia gets in the act and quotes the book’s author who
ties the 9/11 attacks to a section of Isaiah 9, which describes God vowing to destroy ancient Israel for persistent disobedience towards Him and ignoring the warnings He has sent them. One such warning was a military attack on Israel which caused physical damage to the land. Verses 9 and 10 record that instead of recognizing God’s warning and repenting of its sins, Israel defiantly vowed to rebuild using stronger materials and planting stronger trees.
Clearly God was giving a warning to Israel, a warning that was ignored in its entirety. It remains to be seen if the attacks on 9/11 were indeed a similar warning. The book and documentary make a strong case for it, but you will have to make that decision for yourself if they were or were not.