Numbers 14:44-45—But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp. Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.
The Israelites had come right up to the border of the Promised Land but refused to go in because of fear. When they heard the alternative, they changed their mind. “If it was God’s will before, won’t God bless us if we do it now?” They wanted to save themselves from the consequences of sin by obeying now, but it was too late. They had already complained, whined, and refused to obey. The cloud did not lead them even though they were now willing. They decided to go anyway without Moses and the Ark of the Covenant, without God. They were soundly defeated. Timing and circumstance affect the will of God. It was God’s will for them to enter in when they first heard the report. After their reaction to the report, it was no longer God’s will. They had to reap the consequences of their decisions. You can’t go back in time and make it right. You have to face the music. If at any time you decide to go back to escape the consequences, God will not be with you. Deal with the consequences of sin the best you can. If you are repentant, God will be with you as you face them. Since they had failed to obey, the next best thing was to obey God in the days to come, not go back and try to change things. Obey instantly when the first instruction comes. It is a tough lesson with heavy penalties. Learn to obey the first time. Realize that God’s instructions are the best route for you.