Author Archives: mmattix

Ezra 4-7

Rebuilding the house of the Lord is up for debate in these passages. They couldn’t agree on who was authorized.

Thus the work on the house of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.” (Ezra 4:24)

So another letter went out from the Jews to King Darius.

Now if it pleases the king, let a search be made in the royal archives of Babylon to see if King Cyrus did in fact issue a decree to rebuild this house of God in Jerusalem. Then let the king send us his decision in this matter.” (Ezra 5:17 ESV)

King Darius not only decreed that the Jews could rebuild, but there would be fatal consequences for anyone who went against it. Finally there was rejoicing!

Then the people of Israel- the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles- celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy. For the dedication of this house of God they offered a hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred male lambs and, as a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, one for each of the tribes of Israel. And they installed the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their groups for the service of God at Jerusalem, according to what is written in the Book of Moses.” (Ezra 6:16-18 ESV)

Finally, Ezra was passing through and witnessed all that was happening. He was thankful.

Praise be to the Lord, the God of our ancestors, who has put it into the king’s heart to bring honor to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem in this way and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisors and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the Lord my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leaders from Israel to go up with me.” (Ezra 7:27-28 ESV)

God, You are faithful. When something is promised us, even if circumstances do not make us optimistic, You always are there in all ways.


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1 Chronicles 16:1-19:9

The prophet, Nathan, speaks a word from the Lord to David.

When your days are over and you go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.” (I Chronicles 17:11-14 ESV)

The Lord is making an amazing promise to David here. He is not just talking about Solomon building the temple. He is talking about the future Savior coming through David’s line. It is His throne that will be established forever.

David’s prayer in response is humble and grateful.

You, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. So your servant has found courage to pray to You. You, Lord, are God! You have promised these good things to your servant. Now you have been pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever in Your sight; for You, Lord, have blessed it, and will be blessed forever!” (1 Chronicles 17:25-27 ESV)

The line that stood out to me was “You, Lord are God!” It was like a head explosion moment for David. He, I imagine, could not believe what he had been told and how honored he was by it. Moving back a chapter we see David instructing worship before the ark of the covenant. I think after hearing what Nathan had to tell him and thanking the Lord for it, that David worshipped just like he taught.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Cry out, ‘Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in Your praise.’ Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.” (I Chronicles 16:34-36 ESV)

Whether you kneel in reverance, stand with hands raised, bow your head with tears streaming from your eyes, or any other humble way, I encourage all of us to worship the Lord with our whole beings. He is worthy to be praised. Can I get an amen?


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1 Kings 20:26-22:36

And Miciah said, ‘Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left.” (I Kings 22:19 ESV)

It is Easter Sunday! The darkness of Good Friday is over. The waiting of Saturday has passed. The rejoicing can begin!

Christmas is important because Jesus entered into our world fully God and yet fully man. I could relate in a tiny way to Mary, when I had a one-month-old son at Christmas one year. It gave me a glimpse of the preciousness of that season and that first Christmas as I cuddled him.

Good Friday holds even more significance because Jesus died in my place. All of my rotten sins were dumped on Him (and all of the world’s), and He bore the wrath of God for it. It was the wrath that I deserved but didn’t and won’t get. Why me? What did I do to deserve such grace?

But Easter, or Resurrection, Sunday is most important in my mind. Jesus didn’t stay dead. He came back to life. And since I put my trust in Him, I will too. That first resurrection Sunday is what the hope of my faith is built on. It is what all Christians celebrate each and every Sunday, not just Easter.

Lord, thank you for coming to earth, for dying for our sins and for making resurrection and eternity spent with You possible. May I always ponder the wonder of that first Sunday miracle, looking forward to Heaven, all the days of my life. Thank you for Easter!


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2 Samuel 6:12-10:19

The desire of King David’s heart was to build God a house. Here he was living in a cedar house and his Lord dwelled in tents that moved around. This didn’t set right with David. But the Lord had a plan, which he shared with David through his prophet Nathan.

When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David. (2 Samuel 7:12-17 ESV)

It is obvious to me from these passages that the Lord and David had a good relationship. What love the Lord poured out on David, making a covenant with him and his offspring. And what gratitude David rightly expressed to the Lord in response.

For you, O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have made this revelation to your servant, saying ‘I will build you a house.’ Therefore your servant has found courage to pray this prayer to you. And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.” (2 Samuel 7:27-29 ESV)

I just recently taught my kindergarten class the Golden Rule song. For obvious reasons, it teaches them that treating others the way we would prefer to be treated is the way to be. I was reminded of this when I read through the story of David showing kindness to Mephibosheth. David adored Jonathan like a brother. Even though his father wanted him killed, David never held that against Jonathan. He would do anything for him. What better way to honor his good friend than by showing generosity to his son?

And David said to him, ‘Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.” (2 Samuel 9:7 ESV)

So Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, for he ate always at the king’s table. Now he was lame in both his feet.” (2 Samuel 9:13 ESV)

Mephibosheth could not walk, so he was likely treated as an outcast to most people. But not David. He was a ‘man after God’s heart’ who always tried to do the right thing.

Lord, let us learn by David’s example that a close relationship with You includes sharing the desires of our hearts. Sometimes You don’t give us what we want, but you always give us what is best for us. And You always care for our whole beings with your tenderness and compassion, showing us Your plans piece by piece as we are ready for them. May we forever give You credit where credit is due.


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Judges 17:1-20:11

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6 ESV)

Today’s passage begins by stating that “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Doesn’t that sound like our world today? The sins may look different, but it has always been a big problem when we turn from God and go about things our own way. Anything and everything evil and horrible can happen.

And her master rose up in the morning, and when he opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, behold, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, ‘Get up, let us be going.’ But there was no answer. Then he put her on the donkey, and the man rose up and went away to his homes. And when he entered his house, he took a knife, and taking hold of his concubine he divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. And all who saw it said, ‘Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the hand of Egypt until this day; consider it, take counsel, and speak.” (Judges 19:27-30 ESV)

These verses are like a scene from a horror movie. A woman was violated and attacked all night then left for dead. Then her master decided to get Israel’s attention by cutting her up into twelve. Wow, that’s some crazy stuff!! But it is what can happen when we “do what is right in our own eyes.” This distribution of her body was a call to action or wake up call to get them to come out of their passive slumber.

Do we ever get like that in our lives? Do we need something to jolt us out of our spiritual lethargy from time to time? Do we need shocking things to go on in the world for us to realize that this life is not our home? Do we need reminders to focus on the Lord and what He wants for our lives not just day by day going through the motions?

So all men of Israel gathered against the city, united as one man.” (Judges 20:11 ESV)

This horrific incident called them all together to devise a plan of how to stop the evil currently going through their territory. How can we too unite as one body of believers to combat the evil that the enemy has put against all people?

Lord, help us to never become complacent in our place as Christians in this world. Let us live with eyes wide open ever ready to do our part to keep evil at bay and never falling into the trap of living on how we think is right. Only You can show us the true standard of right and wrong.


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