And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have rejected.”
When Moses told these words to all the people of Israel, the people mourned greatly. And they rose early in the morning and went up to the heights of the hill country, saying, “Here we are. We will go up to the place that the Lord has promised, for we have sinned.” But Moses said, “Why now are you transgressing the command of the Lord, when that will not succeed? Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, lest you be struck down before your enemies. For there the Amalekites and the Canaanites are facing you, and you shall fall by the sword. Because you have turned back from following the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.” 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. Number 14:26-31, 39-45 ESV
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. Romans 5:6-9 ESV
Susan had been riding her bicycle down a hill really fast, and suddenly she needed to turn a corner. Her tires skidded and she fell off her bike. She wasn’t hurt too badly, but her bike was broken. The chain had broken and fallen off the gears. After she walked the bike home she wanted her bike to be fixed right away, but her mom was busy. Susan wanted to fix her bike by herself, but her mom warned her that she would need help. Susan didn’t listen. She tried to fix the bike by herself, but she ended up making it worse. She took the back wheel off and tried to put it all back together, but she couldn’t. Now the bike was so badly broken that it needed to go to a repair shop.
The people of Israel did something just as foolish. They tried to go to war against the people of the promised land without God’s help or promise. They thought they could win the war all by themselves, even though Moses had told them that they wouldn’t be able to. God had said that these people would never enter the promised land, and that only their children would be allowed to. But they didn’t listen, and so they were defeated in battle.
We also need God’s help to enter his kingdom. We can’t do it by ourselves, but sometimes people try to. They think that by being good and doing the right things they can earn God’s love and a place among his people. But no one can do that. The good news is that God sent Jesus to open the way for us to be God’s children. Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins and bring us to God. We never have to try to earn God’s love, but we can be very happy that he gives it to us freely through Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to take away our sins and bring us into your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.