They got up early the next morning and went up the ridge of the hill country, saying, “Let’s go to the place the LORD promised, for we were wrong.” – Numbers 14:40
We are all familiar with the expression “too little, too late.” When the Israelites realized their error (in rejecting God’s clear instruction to enter the Promised Land) they tried to move ahead without His express approval. They figured that admitting the mistake would be enough and God would still give them what they wanted, but there was a problem. For even though the rebellious tribesmen had realized their error and sin, they never repented and confessed it to God. The Almighty wanted more than an acknowledgement of guilt and remorse. It wasn’t enough for them to regret the consequences of their actions. God wanted obedience rooted in true worship.
We make a lot of mistakes before God and it is always good to recognize it when we do, but recognition is just the beginning … a first step and it must go beyond “being sorry” for the consequences of all we have done. Confession and repentance must follow acknowledgement of sin if we ever expect to succeed in God’s service … and while the consequences of our actions may still be borne, it is never too little or too late to “make things right” and worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth.
Affliction comes to us, not to make us sad but sober; not to make us sorry but wise. – H. G. Wells