Numbers 14:34-35 New International Version (NIV)
34 For forty years—one year for each of the forty days you explored the land—you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.’ 35 I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this wilderness; here they will die.”
The judgement was what was most feared by the people. They did not want to wander in the wilderness until they died, but that is what needed to happen. A new generation needed to be built up and formed. This judgement was not harsh compared to the instant death. God allowed the people to live. The people did not go into the Promised Land. The were to afraid and just stayed on the edge looking in. Also, by this time, there had been a lot of complaining and disobeying. Again and again, the people had refused to trust. The punishment was not permanent. In 40 years, a new generation would have a chance to enter, and they would trust and obey. Joshua, Caleb, Moses, and Aaron were the exception. They obeyed and trusted the entire time, but they would have to serve the consequences of the people. Have you ever done the right thing, but had to go through the consequences of someone else’s poor choices? When this happens, hold true to God. Trust and obey for there is no other way. You will be happier trusting and obeying.