I have often said that all we need to do is know God. If we know Him, then we’ll know His love for us. If we know His love for us, we’ll receive it and it will reflect back in obedience to His Word and will pour out in love for others. We just need to know Him.
That’s the crux of it, that relationship. You have to spend time with someone to get to know them. The best way to get to know God the Father is through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. We see God when we look at Jesus. All the compassion of Jesus, all the love, all the generosity. That’s God.
The Israelites, after being told they will die in the wilderness and not make it to the Promised Land, decide that now they will go take the land and head into battle. They are missing God again. They didn’t know God as their protector. They didn’t know God as all-powerful. If they had, they would have followed Him into the Promised Land and not cared about who was there defending it. They would have known their God was bigger and stronger. The fact that it seemed hard would have just been setting up a greater victory for God, more glory for Him and His name.
The darker it is, the greater chance there is to shine God’s light. No amount of darkness, or trouble, or obstacles is anything to God. It should excite the Christian the worse it gets. God’s going to get a lot of glory there! After they are told their punishment, the Israelites decide they would rather go into the Promised Land than wander in the desert forty more years and so try to go in on their own. How are they missing God now? It’s what He wanted, right? No!
One, they are making God a liar. He said they wouldn’t enter. Since God can’t lie, they can’t go in. Two, God wants obedience, not sacrifice. He doesn’t want them charging into battle. He wants them walking with Him. They always went out together and they stopped and camped together.
The Israelites going on their own is them relying on their own strength and dishonoring God, not recognizing Him as having been the One who brought them this far and who can lead them into the Promised Land. The right response would have been weeping and repenting because of how they treated Him, not because they were going to suffer. The right response would have been humbling themselves before God, not taking matters into their own hands. Ask the Lord to help you examine your words and actions to see if they are truly honoring God.