The Israelites had advanced in their journey to the point of entering the Promised Land. Moses, at God’s instruction sent twelve men—one leader from each tribe to spy out the land. They were to report generally on the strength and numbers of the people, the fertility of the land, the size of their cities and the quality of their fruit.
After being gone forty days, the spies returned with good news/bad news. They reported that the land was indeed a land of milk and honey and they presented a single giant bunch of grapes and other fruits as examples of the bountiful fruit growing there. BUT, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.”
Ten of the spies either forgot or ignored God’s promise to deliver the Land of Canaan to them. The other two spies, Joshua and Caleb insisted that they indeed could take the land.
A foolish and forgetful people were greatly distressed by the report of the ten spies. That was after they had seen the delivering hand of God for a little more than a year. He had delivered them from slavery, fed them and fought their battles for them. They refused to accept the report of faith from Joshua and Caleb and even attempted to stone them. Their rebellion was so intense, that they suggested naming a new leader to return them back to Egypt.
God is a patient God, but the rebellion of the Israelites was too much for Him. He stated that He would destroy and disinherit them and make a great nation of Moses instead.
Moses, one of the greatest heroes of the Bible again pled for the people. As he interceded for the Israelites, God relented and pardoned them, BUT He stated that they would not see the land that He had given them. Everyone except Joshua and Caleb who had been counted above twenty years of age would die in the wilderness. The ten unfaithful spies soon died of the plague.
There will be a time when it is too late to repent. That time had come for the Israelites. The same rebels who had refused to enter Canaan with God’s help attempted to enter without His help and were defeated and driven back. It is important to remember that one man—in this case, two men and God made a majority. However, the people had refused to follow God and suffered the consequences.