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A Story Worth Telling


In Joshua 22 we find the 2½ tribes of Israel being released to go back to their families after fighting to take possession of the Promise Land. You may remember that these tribes, Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, wanted to stay on the east side of the Jordan because the land was good for their cattle.

Evidently, they must have been talking on the way back to their families and came to the conclusion that they needed to construct an altar to unify them with the other 9 tribes.  They believed that in the future the descendants of the 9 tribes would say, “What right do you have to worship the Lord, the God of Israel?  The Lord has placed the Jordan River as a barrier between our people and you people of Reuben and Gad.  You have no claim to the Lord?”

Not knowing their reason, the 9 tribes on the west side of the Jordan heard of the altar and prepared for war.  Verse 13, however, says that first they sent a delegation to talk with the 2½ tribes.

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Mary & Martha — God Focused Worship


My friend and pastor, Bill Dogterom, just wrote a blog about a re-discovery he made concerning the 2 main words used for worship in the Old Testament.  I would highly suggest you read it (click here).  Bill has a gift for explaining deep concepts in a succinct and approachable way.  However, for our purposes right now I’ll summarize it.

There are basically 2 words in the Old Testament, each echoed in the New Testament, that blend together our understanding of worship.  The first word captures the deep, visceral, heart-felt response to encounter with God.  The way we experience his presence and are moved to respond to him. i.e. clapping, singing, shouting, dancing, silence, hands raising, bowing down.  

The second word prepares for the response described by the first word.  i.e. setting up the equipment, learning and leading the rituals, writing and singing the songs, weaving the textiles, making the tapestries, building and playing the instruments, and so on.  It is often translated “serve” and regularly links to the work of the Levites.  

Again, Bill goes in a little more detail and I recommend you read his blog.

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