9:11 Bible Verses

As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 draws nigh, the media is saturated with reflections on this defining event of our generation.  Watching or reading certain pundits can be a maddening experience, as they draw wrong conclusions or hype the tragedy.  Other types of coverage can make your heart leap into your throat, such as the cover of one magazine I saw in the airport recently entitled “9/11 Children” featuring those who had lost parents on that fateful day. For reflective articles, I have benefited from the latest issues of WORLD and Tabletalk magazines.

I recall how horrified I was ten years ago, as events unfolded, by the evil forethought of the perpetrators.  For years the terrorists had been learning to fly so they could control the cockpit; they plotted such things as what types of planes to hijack, their routes, fuel amounts, passenger levels, etc.; they chose symbolic targets representing our financial, military and political power (the Shanksville, PA, crash preventing a plane from flying into the US Capitol Building).   Insidiously, Osama Bin Laden even deliberately chose the date of 9/11 .  In his laughing, diabolical mind, he knew these three numbers were the ones Americans dial for emergencies.

Thinking as a former math teacher about those numbers, I wondered if there was a positive use one could make of them.  Yes, I am admitting here that I looked to see what the Bible verses with the  reference of 9:11 say.  I wondered, “Do any of them in their proper context  contain truth that might communicate when the subject of this tragedy arises?”  After all, the reference would make it easy to remember and might help in witnessing. I did and do  feel a bit silly, about like rolling dice to find a verse.  But then again, “Man casts the lot, but its every decision is from the Lord.”

Just to clarify my little experiment before I share the results.  No,  I am not promoting “secret number codes” of the Bible, approaching the Scriptures as if these verses were written for this event.  No, I do not believe the references are inspired.  No, this should not be the way one ordinarily studies the Bible.

I found there are only 37 9:11 references, as 29 of the books do not have enough chapters.   As one would expect, almost all of these 37 verses did not relate at all.  Some were, in referring to tragedy, intriguing but  not that helpful, such as Isaiah 9:11, “Therefore the LORD raises against them adversaries from Rezin and spurs their enemies on” and Esther 9:11, “On that day the number of those who were killed at the citadel in Susa was reported to the king.”   Yet surprisingly, I thought four of these verses in context could possibly be used in discussions of 9/11 and other tragic events.   What do you think?

As a reminder of God’s plan in tragedy – Following his deliverance after the flood, God said to Noah in Genesis 9:11, “Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you.”  In the greatest act of earthly destruction, the Lord was at work saving  His chosen ones and entering into a covenant with them.   Despite wars and terrors, God is still preserving the earth and making known His salvation through the covenant of Christ.

Or:

As a way of  identifying with those suffering – Job 9:11 says, “Were He to pass by me, I would not see Him;  were He to move past me, I would not perceive Him.”  In his great suffering involving the loss of property, children, and health, Job struggled to understand God’s mysterious presence and ways.  We need to identify initially with disillusioned people as they try to make sense of painful events around them, rather than coming across like Job’s friends as if we understand it all.

Or:

As a note of warning to the proud – Psalm 9:11 states, “Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion;  declare among the peoples His deeds.” As the deeds this psalm is glorifying the Lord for are His judgments on wicked nations, can we see beyond the terrorists’ hands to God’s hand of judgment?  Americans of this generation are blind to their own sin and that the targets of 9/11 were representative of our false gods, as Timothy Keller and others have pointed out.  Given that Jesus Himself used the spreading news of the tragedy of a falling tower to call people to repent of their own evil (Luke 13:4), we must carefully do the same.

Or:

As a picture of the gospel of Christ – Amos 9:11, ““In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, and wall up its breaches;  I will also raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old.”  The apostles used this verse from Amos to preach Christ’s resurrection from the dead as the true King and Restorer of the people of God (Acts 15:16-17).  Just as monuments are being built from the ruins of the towers, so shattered and broken lives can be rebuilt by Christ.

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4 Comments

  1. Susan April 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    I enjoyed your thoughts and reflections on these 9 11 scriptures. While I do not consider myself to be ‘overly’ obsessed with or seeking God’s signs and wonders, I am convinced that God speaks to us sometimes in strange ways. I do ask God to open my eyes and mind to help me see and hear Him even if it seems to make no sense. For the past many months I cannot tell you how many times I have glanced at my alarm clock, phone clock, microwave clock, computer clock, or a wall clock in various different locations and seen “9 11”. So often I began asking what am I supposed to learn from this? Maybe a simple answer would be related to how I have scheduled my life and my tendency to check the time, but I think it goes beyond that. Anyway…. Thank you for sharing about possible lessons to be learned from your study of 9 11 verses as I think God is leading me to remember and live in these truths!

    • Barry York April 26, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

      Susan,

      Thanks for your comment and thoughts. Yes, these strange, little, providential happenings can stimulate us to more thoughtfulness, prayer, and practice of our union with Christ. That’s in part why I looked into this, and glad you were encouraged by it.

      Barry

  2. Steve September 12, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    I Googled Bible 9:11 and found your article on “9:11 Bible Verses” about 9:30pm tonight, 9/11/14. Last night about 11pm I was reading through all 9:11 passages in my KJV Bible, to see which one might best relate to the tragic events of 9/11/01. I gave up. Instead I just picked one that has a good message (Ecclesiastes 9:11) for use in a brand new type of puzzle God gave me the idea for several years ago. (With God’s help I constructed The World’s Largest Biblical Crossword Puzzle! back in 1981.) Anyway, I enjoyed your piece on 9:11, about a process I’ve used several times over the years, for different special dates. PTL! Steve Wergeland II Corinthians 9:11

    • Barry York September 15, 2014 at 11:32 am #

      Steve,

      Thanks for stopping by. Glad the article was an encouragement, and the crossword sounds like quite a project!

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