“But they presumed to go up to the heights of the hill country, although neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed out of the camp. Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them and pursued them, even to Hormah.” Numbers 14:44-45 ESV
It was all so stupid. The obstinate Israelites had exercised their unbelief by choosing to not enter Canaan. When the people heard of God’s judgement (Numbers 14:26-35) — that they would all die in the wilderness over a 40-year period — they decided they would then enter Canaan no matter what.
- “Obedience” that looks good is not necessarily obedience.
- Sorrow for sin does not necessarily make us right with God.
- Our actions will not make us right with God — only our submission and worship will.
As we can see by the above verses, their hearts were still far from God. They went forward with their plan of making things right, but they left God behind. He had already told this nation to go into the wilderness, but now they were heading into Canaan– without God!
We see that the Amalekites and Canaanites “defeated them and pursued them, even to Hormah.” Hormah is inside of Canaan some 60 miles south of where they crossed the Jordan River. It’s amazing, really. The wayward Israelites are so desperate to get what they want (or not get what they deserve) that they take THE risk they convinced everyone not to take only days before. And risk they did. This was a bold, daring, audacious and stupid risk. God was not with them in it. They were chased down and destroyed within the Promised Land. In this, they greatly dishonored God–again.
The Promised Land only holds blessing when we take God with us.
Only brokenness, submission, and authentic worship lived by costly obedience will ever enable us to honor God with our lives.