19 “Then we set out from Horeb, and went through all that great and terrible wilderness which you saw on the way to the hill country of the Amorites, just as the Lord our God had commanded us; and we came to Kadesh-barnea. 20 I said to you, ‘You have come to the hill country of the Amorites which the Lord our God is about to give us. 21 See, the Lord your God has placed the land before you; go up, take possession, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has spoken to you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’
22 “Then all of you approached me and said, ‘Let us send men before us, that they may search out the land for us, and bring back to us word of the way by which we should go up and the cities which we shall enter.’ 23 The thing pleased me and I took twelve of your men, one man for each tribe. 24 They turned and went up into the hill country, and came to the valley of Eshcol and spied it out. 25 Then they took some of the fruit of the land in their hands and brought it down to us; and they brought us back a report and said, ‘It is a good land which the Lord our God is about to give us.’
26 “Yet you were not willing to go up, but rebelled against the [p]command of the Lord your God; 27 and you grumbled in your tents and said, ‘Because the Lord hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us. 28 Where can we go up? Our brethren have made our hearts melt, saying, “The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified to heaven. And besides, we saw the sons of the Anakim there.”’29 Then I said to you, ‘Do not be shocked, nor fear them. 30 The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, [q]just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31 and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place.’ 32 But [r]for all this, you did not trust the Lord your God,33 who goes before you on your way, to seek out a place for you to encamp, in fire by night and cloud by day, to show you the way in which you should go.
34 “Then the Lord heard the sound of your words, and He was angry and took an oath, saying, 35 ‘Not one of these men, this evil generation, shall see the good land which I swore to give your fathers, 36 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and to his sons I will give the land on which he has set foot, because he has followed the Lord fully.’ 37 The Lord was angry with me also on your account, saying, ‘Not even you shall enter there. 38 Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall enter there; encourage him, for he will cause Israel to inherit it. 39 Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it. 40 But as for you, turn around and set out for the wilderness by the way to the [s]Red Sea.’
41 “Then you said to me, ‘We have sinned against the Lord; we will indeed go up and fight, just as the Lord our God commanded us.’ And every man of you girded on his weapons of war, and regarded it as easy to go up into the hill country. 42 And the Lord said to me, ‘Say to them, “Do not go up nor fight, for I am not among you; otherwise you will be [t]defeated before your enemies.”’ 43 So I spoke to you, but you would not listen. Instead you rebelled against the [u]command of the Lord, and acted presumptuously and went up into the hill country. 44 The Amorites who [v]lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you as bees do, and crushed you from Seir to Hormah. 45 Then you returned and wept before the Lord; but the Lord did not listen to your voice nor give ear to you. 46 So you remained in Kadesh many days, [w]the days that you spent there.
It had to be a sobering reminder, what all happened because of this one rebellion against the command of God. He had promised to be with them, had literally led them with a cloud and a pillar of fire, and they complained that they could not conquer the promised land.
Lest we be too proud of ourselves, we need to be mindful of what God has promised us. Don’t go back to Egypt, fruitful though it may have been, to the land of slavery, but always move forward into what God has promised.