Forty years is a long time! What was the world like forty years ago? You might not yet have been born, but maybe you could ask a parent or grandparent. What do you think your life will be like in forty years?
While Israel was traveling from Egypt to the Promised Land, some Israelites got a “sneak peek” of their new home. They told the rest of Israel that the land was beautiful and good for growing food, but that some of their enemies were living there. Israel was angry that God told them to move next door to their enemies. They decided to disobey God, so God told them they wouldn’t get to go to the Promised Land right away. They had to spend forty years wandering around before they got to enter the Promised Land!
When we sin, we sometimes face consequences. If you are mean to others, you might get a time-out. When the Israelites disobeyed God, they weren’t allowed by God to go to the Promised Land right away. They had to spend forty long years on the road, and they complained all the time!
God always forgives our sins. Sometimes we still face consequences for what we did, but God always forgives us. He forgave Israel too. He never broke His promise to bring them to the Promised Land, even though it took them a while to get there. He gave them water when they were thirsty. He gave Moses the snake on the pole to heal those who were bitten by fiery snakes. Many years later, God sent Jesus to forgive the sins of the whole world. Jesus heals us, meets all our needs, and forgives our sins—for forty years, and forever after that!