Part 3- Why Don't They Get It?

love moses rebuke restrain selfless water Jan 11, 2023
  • Matthew 22:37-40

'And He said to him, “‘You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire Torah and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”'

In the first two parts of this blog, we discussed how we handle loved ones who haven’t opened their eyes and ears to Torah yet.  It can be an incredibly frustrating and lonely journey to walk. However, they do have some bits and pieces of truth and have begun to light their menorah.

We also looked into the difference between the Hebrew and English meanings of the word, rebuke.  The English meaning completely cuts us down and criticizes us sharply, while the Hebrew is graceful, knows restraint, and gently teaches us by showing us what this walk is all about.

Today, I want to use Moses as an example to show you what it can look like when we are rebuking people in a biblical way and in our westernized mindset. 

Living water from the rock at Horeb.

  •  Exodus 17:3-7

'But the people thirsted for water there, and they complained against Moses and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt? To kill us with thirst, along with our children and cattle?” So Moses cried out to Adonai saying, “What am I to do for these people? They are about ready to stone me.” Adonai said to Moses, “Walk before the people, and take of the elders of Israel with you, along with your staff with which you struck the river. Take it in your hand and go. Behold, I will stand before you, there upon the rock in Horeb. You are to strike the rock, and water will come out of it so that the people can drink.” Then Moses did just so in the eyes of the elders of Israel. The name of the place was called Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of Bnei-Yisrael , and because they tested Adonai saying, “Is Adonai among us, or not?”'

The Israelites had recently crossed the Sea of Reeds, the bitter waters were made sweet at Marah, and they received manna from heaven. They pack up and leave the waters in Marah, while moving closer to Mt. Sinai.  They're very uncertain of how they will be provided for after they had just been given food and water in a mini oasis and then moved to a different wilderness. They cry out and complain, accusing Moses of bringing them out in the wilderness to die of thirst. Moses doesn’t rebuke them using our western mindset, but goes directly to the Father and asks what he is supposed to do on behalf of the people.  He is acting selfless; not trying to figure out how to give water to all the people on his own accord.

He is simply turning to Adonai for guidance and willfully obeying Him by striking the rock to provide water for the people.  Do you see how Moses is loving Adonai by turning to Him in the midst of trouble?  He’s also setting an example to the Israelites by doing so. 

The chuppah at Mount Sinai.

  •  Exodus 19:16-18

'In the morning of the third day, there was thundering and lightning, a thick cloud on the mountain, and the blast of an exceedingly loud shofar . All the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the lowest part of the mountain. Now the entire Mount Sinai was in smoke, because Adonai had descended upon it in fire. The smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace. The whole mountain quaked greatly.'

Seven weeks after leaving Egypt, Moses prepares the people to come under the chuppah and receive their ketubah, the Torah, where they will learn the expectations of being the bride of the Creator.  They are given the document that shows them how to separate themselves from sin.

Despite the adultery of some during the worship of the golden calf, Adonai still chooses to restrain Himself, not consume the people, and continues to teach the people how to walk in His ways. Moses even intercedes on their behalf and reminds Adonai of the promises He made to the patriarchs and how He would be perceived by the Egyptians.  Moses again is being completely selfless and interceding for the people despite the big mistake they made.

Remember when Moses hit the rock instead of talking to it?

  •  Numbers 20:10-12

'Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly in front of the rock. He said, “Listen now, you rebels! Must we bring you water from this rock?” Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with the staff. Water gushed out and the community and its livestock drank. But Adonai said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in Me so as to esteem Me as holy in the eyes of Bnei-Yisrael, therefore you will not bring this assembly into the land that I have given to them.”'

They’re back in the same location they were before when Moses hit the rock at Horeb to supply the people with water. Moses has been dealing with a lot of rebellion from the people during the Israelites’ wanderings and I’m sure he was over it. The people had witnessed miracle after miracle during the years and they STILL didn’t fully trust that all they had to do was be still and wait on Adonai. 

Initially, he and Aaron fall on their faces to ask Adonai what they are to do, but a switch was flipped in Moses and he rebuked them in a westernized way, certainly not in love. I’m sure all of that frustration had built up in Moses and while he’s mourning the death of his sister, Miriam, the complaints of the people were Moses’s tipping point.

Let’s go back to Leviticus 19:16-18 really quick.

  • Leviticus 19:16-18

'“You are not to go up and down as a talebearer among your people. You are not to endanger the life of your neighbor. I am Adonai. “You are not to hate your brother in your heart. Instead, you are to firmly rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You are not to take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am Adonai.'

Moses’s anger and frustration against the people caused him to sin.  Instead of speaking to the rock like Adonai said, he hit the rock. One interesting thing to note is the people still received the water they needed, but Moses was forbidden to enter the Promised Land. He allowed his emotions to control his behavior instead of trusting Adonai and therefore did not esteem Him as holy in front of the people. 

After the Exodus, Moses is loving Adonai by obeying Him and also loving his brothers and sisters by being gentle with them and guiding them to the chuppah at Mt. Sinai.  Despite their lack of trust in Moses as their leader and Adonai’s plan to lead them into the Promised Land, Moses almost always dealt with them in grace and humility, falling on his face before the Father on their behalf.  That is how we need to be. It can be very easy for us to snap at our loved ones when we’re upset or feel like they should have learned their lesson by now, but that is not our decision to make.  It. Is. His.  

Sisters, the biggest point I want you to take away is Moses and Aaron were the ones forbidden to enter the Promised Land, not the Israelites. Sure, we could argue that they all were sinning by not trusting Adonai, but who had the more intimate relationship with Him?  Moses and Aaron.  They knew better.  The more we know Him, the more accountable we are.  Our thoughts, emotions, and opinions are never an excuse to not love our neighbor.


Thank you for sticking with me, ladies!  Next week we’ll wrap up this mini series with how we go about helping our friends and family see His cycles and some encouragement while we wait!


Be pressed and be blessed!




I want to give a huge thank you to Simonette Cherepanov for midrashing with me about this topic, and Brenda Stroth for helping me gain a deeper understanding of rebuke from a Hebrew perspective!


  •  Proverbs 18:21

'Death and life are in the control of the tongue. Those who indulge in it will eat its fruit.'


  •  Ephesians 4:29

'Let no harmful word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for building others up according to the need, so that it gives grace to those who hear it.'


  •  1 Corinthians 9:19-23

'For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win over more of them. To the Jewish people I identified as a Jew, so that I might win over the Jewish people. To those under Torah I became like one under Torah (though not myself being under Torah ), so that I might win over those under Torah ; to those outside Torah , like one outside Torah (though not being outside God’s Torah but in Messiah’s Torah ), so that I might win over those outside Torah . To the weak I became weak, so that I might win over the weak. I have become all things to all men, so that by all means possible I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the Good News, so that I might be a fellow partaker of it. '


  •  1 Timothy 5:1-2  NASB1995

'Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.'


  •  Jacob (James) 3:5-10

'So also the tongue is a small member—yet it boasts of great things. See how so small a fire sets a blaze so great a forest! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is a world of evil placed among our body parts. It pollutes the whole body and sets on fire the course of life—and is set on fire by Gehenna. For every species of beasts and birds, reptiles and sea creatures, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Adonai and Father, and with it we curse people, who are made in the image of God. From the same mouth comes blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be.'

*Please Note: the verses used in this blog were taken from the TLV, Tree of Life Version, and may be numbered slightly different in other versions.  Thank you!

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