Early the next morning they set out for the highest point in the hill country, saying, “Now we are ready to go up to the land the Lord promised. (Numbers 14:40)
It’s a classic case of “too little, too late.” The “next morning” refers to the day AFTER the Israelites had disobeyed God by refusing to enter the Promised Land. Waking up to the realization of their sin, they resigned themselves to going ahead with God’s original plan.
On one hand, it looks to be a commendable decision. They had disobeyed, they mourned that sin, and now they were ready to be obedient – or so it seemed. Yet entering Canaan was no longer God’s plan for them. In v. 25 of the same chapter, God had ordered Moses to head back into the wilderness. So their current action – which would have been an act of obedience the day before – was now an act of disobedience. What a reminder that the time to obey God is always NOW!
Moses attempted to stop them. He warned them that God wouldn’t be with them and they’d fail. Yet here’s what happened next:
Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant moved from the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah. (Numbers 14:44-45)
So, without the approval of God, without the presence of God, and without the man of God, they engaged the enemies of God – and got creamed! Interestingly, Hormah was a town slightly south and east of Beersheeba (the southernmost edge of Israel) – in other words, they didn’t capture and hold ANY territory. So, instead of getting the whole land through their obedience, they obtained NONE of it through their disobedience.
Friends, we obtain everything God intends for us through our obedience to Him. We gain nothing through our disobedience.
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