The unbelieving spies left a need for Israel to get some more hard lessons. 

And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land,  Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD.  But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.  And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.  And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.  And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD? but it shall not prosper.  Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.  For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you.  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.  Num 14:36-45 (KJV)

The plague took the unbelieving spies.  Only two of the twelve spies survived their venture into the Promised Land.  This great privilege was turned into destruction by unbelief.   So now, the people mourning the loss decide to become obedient.  This is in response to God’s anger, not an act of faith in his love.  It is too late, and God is not supportive of their afterthought.  He is not with them entering the promised land on their own strength.  He had pronounced their fate of forty years of wandering, and they were again unbelieving in not accepting his will.  Moses warned them but they died in this rebellion.  The people of Canaan were not driven away by God, and defeated them.  Still God gave instructions for the day when their children would go in.  They were to make an offering to the Lord.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land of your habitations, which I give unto you,   And will make an offering by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice in performing a vow, or in a freewill offering, or in your solemn feasts, to make a sweet savour unto the LORD, of the herd, or of the flock:  Then shall he that offereth his offering unto the LORD bring a meat offering of a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of an hin of oil.  And the fourth part of an hin of wine for a drink offering shalt thou prepare with the burnt offering or sacrifice, for one lamb.  Or for a ram, thou shalt prepare for a meat offering two tenth deals of flour mingled with the third part of an hin of oil.  And for a drink offering thou shalt offer the third part of an hin of wine, for a sweet savour unto the LORD.  And when thou preparest a bullock for a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice in performing a vow, or peace offerings unto the LORD:  Then shall he bring with a bullock a meat offering of three tenth deals of flour mingled with half an hin of oil.  And thou shalt bring for a drink offering half an hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.  Thus shall it be done for one bullock, or for one ram, or for a lamb, or a kid.  According to the number that ye shall prepare, so shall ye do to every one according to their number.  All that are born of the country shall do these things after this manner, in offering an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.  Num 15:1-13 (KJV)

This was not just for the Jews, but strangers who traveled with them too.  Everyone was to show obedience to the Lord if they shared his benefits.  This is for a reminder of God and his blessings.  The ritual makes them bring his warnings and his promises to mind.

And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever be among you in your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD; as ye do, so he shall do.  One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD.  One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land whither I bring you,  Then it shall be, that, when ye eat of the bread of the land, ye shall offer up an heave offering unto the LORD.  Ye shall offer up a cake of the first of your dough for an heave offering: as ye do the heave offering of the threshingfloor, so shall ye heave it.  Of the first of your dough ye shall give unto the LORD an heave offering in your generations.  Num 15:14-21 (KJV)

Even if distractions caused them to forget the offerings, they were shown a path to correct the error.  Repentance was honored in the Old Testament too.

And if ye have erred, and not observed all these commandments, which the LORD hath spoken unto Moses,  Even all that the LORD hath commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day that the LORD commanded Moses, and henceforward among your generations;  Then it shall be, if ought be committed by ignorance without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one young bullock for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour unto the LORD, with his meat offering, and his drink offering, according to the manner, and one kid of the goats for a sin offering.  And the priest shall make an atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them; for it is ignorance: and they shall bring their offering, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their ignorance:  And it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth among them; seeing all the people were in ignorance.  And if any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering.  And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.  Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them.  Num 15:22-29 (KJV)

A mistake made unknowingly is forgivable but God is not a patient with the deliberate rebellion.  A man found working on the Sabbath is cut off from his people and from this life.

But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.  Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him. 

And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day.  And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.  And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.  And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.  And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.  Num 15:30-36 (KJV)

 The Law was so serious that God moved them to make reminders to deter them from sin.  Even their clothing was modified with a visual reminder.  This is a serious warning for a serious relationship message.  God has to make a strong message to this generation.  They are a demonstration for all eternity.

 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue:

And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:  That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.  I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.

Num 15:37-41 (KJV)

 When God refers to whoring, it refers to the courting of false gods.  Marriage itself was instituted as a type of our relationship with God.  It is our great gift of an earthly relationship which is a glimpse of the greater heavenly relationship.  As a jealous God he protects us from false beliefs that will deprive us of the greater relationship that leads us to eternal life and our godly inheritance.

 Marriage is a powerful bond and we rejoice in the loving union we share with our earthly partner.  This great gift is still only a small sample of his love for us.  We taste a little of the great heavenly marriage in this earthly experience.  The greatest passions and emotions of this life center around our sexual relationships.  The continuing cycle of birth and life centers on this institution.  The joy and sorrow, the charm and jealousy of this relationship help us to understand God’s love and jealousy for us.  But he offers so much more.

 This Old Testament generation lived the example of how we will all fail to earn our own salvation. They alone received the perfect Law from God, and had the chance to try to earn their salvation.  They also had the curse of Adam that made it impossible.  We all need to see God’s own chosen people attempt to pay the impossible price.

 God made as many warnings as he could to could to keep them on course.  He also gave them many glimpses of a better way that was yet to come.  He offered glimpses of the Messiah who would fulfill the law and make the impossible dream a reality.  The prophets guide the people with promises and glimpses of the workings of the prince who would come for his bride.  He would not miss these people either, as he gave him the same invitation that we received.  This is the love story unfolding in the bible, as we will see.