Numbers 14:26-31 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
The word murmur (teluwnah) means to partake in obstinate grumbling. The children of Israel, even under the worthy leadership of Moses persisted in their murmuring against the Lord, and as evidenced in their connived evil report of the covenanted land, their evil conspiratorial murmurs caused them ultimately to despise the Promised Land itself. Like Esau of old (Jacob's brother) who despised his birthright and sold it for pottage, the unfaithful children of Israel came to despise the land because they were leery of God's capacity to overcome the obstacles. Murmuring against the Lord and against his Divine providence is never a wise course of action. It will ultimately result in a legacy of self-destruction. Aside from the Lord, there is no recourse for overcoming evil, as the god of this world is in fact the destroyer. Ironically, the rebellious, murmuring connivers among the children of Israel even developed a personal disdain for the Promised Land because they accommodated a detestable and confrontational attitude towards the Lord. Simply because they believed not in the words of the Lord, they came to despise the pleasant land, “his land”.
Psalms 106:24-27 Yea, they despised the pleasant land, they believed not his word: But murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord. Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow them in the wilderness: To overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands.
Therefore, the Lord decreed that they should never enter into the land of the promise.
Of the original scouting party of twelve men that Moses had formed to spy out the Promised Land, only Caleb and Joshua finally crossed over the Jordan into the land.
Together with the new generation of Israeli descendants, Joshua formed a mighty contingent through which God performed the miracle of devouring the Giants that occupied the land. At long last, (after 80 years) Israel was molded into a peculiar nation of people that could honor and cherish the land that God had provided unto them.
Deuteronomy 1:27-39 And ye murmured in your tents, and said, Because the Lord hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us. Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there. Then I said unto you, Dread not, neither be afraid of them. The Lord your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, according to all that he did for you in Egypt before your eyes; And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place. Yet in this thing ye did not believe the Lord your God, Who went in the way before you, to search you out a place to pitch your tents in, in fire by night, to shew you by what way ye should go, and in a cloud by day. And the Lord heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying, Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land, which I sware to give unto your fathers, Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him will I give the land that he hath trodden upon, and to his children, because he hath wholly followed the Lord. Also the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither. But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.
Isn't that ironic? The little ones of Israel eventually were the ones to enter into the Promised Land and to actually take it away from the Giants! Under the righteous national leadership of Joshua and Caleb, the little ones of Israel grew to depend solely upon the Lord, therefore they also developed a sense of fulfilling God's providence by dwelling in the Promised Land. Rather than descending spiritually into a spirit of murmuring, and engendering a spirit of spitefulness for the land through a lack of faith as their forefathers had done, the little ones sought to obey the Lord, and to yearn for his land of promise!
An object lesson is worth noting on this historic account of Spying out the Promised Land. The land that the reluctant scouts/elders of Israel grew to despise, became the land upon which God established a chosen nation to become the vehicle that would produce the promised Messiah! The land they despised and concocted an evil report about became the national instrument through which God later sent his Son to dwell in, and to testify in about his Father's coming kingdom. God has promised to bless all nations and peoples through the promise of the Promised Land. Isn't it also ironic that those who despise God's word usually despise the land of God, and despise the promise of God to give the land unto Israel, and despise the fact that God is re-gathering the little ones of Israel back unto the Promised Land. Ironic too is the fact that they, along with the giants of this world always despise the fact that Jesus Christ is coming back to Israel?
The pleasant land continues to be a stumbling block between the world and God. And that is because the God (Jehovah) that the world despises is working in the affairs of mankind to make the Promised Land a burdensome stone. Let us learn not to despise it.