“But you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God, and you would not enter the land. You grumbled to one another: ‘The Lord hates us. He brought us out of Egypt just to hand us over to these Amorites, so that they could kill us.” (Deuteronomy 1:26–27, GNB)

“But I said, ‘Don’t be afraid of those people. The Lord your God will lead you, and he will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt” (Deuteronomy 1:29–30, GNB)

A trip that should have taken 11 days has taken the Israelites 40 years to complete, and all of the generation that had been there 40 years previously has passed away, except Moses, Joshua, and Caleb (and Moses will die before entering the land).

Moses explains to the children of the survivors that the previous generation had “rebelled against the command of the Lord” [to enter the land], despite God’s promise that he would lead them and fight for them.

The unbelieving generation will become a metaphor for complete unbelief in the book of Hebrews:

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years.” (Hebrews 3:7–9, ESV)

For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:16–19, ESV)

The sin of the Exodus generation was unbelief and it was serious and we need to take it seriously.  It is so serious in fact, that the writer to Hebrews warns his generation to beware lest they follow the same pattern of unbelief as the Exodus generation.

How careful we need to be as followers of Christ that we do not allow this same spirit of unbelief to pervade our lives.