Do you ever pretend to be something that you really are not? Do you like to tell others how often you read your Bible, how much time you spend in prayer, how you do this, that and the other good work? Think about it! Do you try to impress others with how often you fast, give to charity, and so forth?
The Israelites were in the desert, not by choice. God was taking them through the desert to the Promised Land, a place flowing with milk and honey. They could have made that journey, by-passing the desert, but God had a good reason for taking them through the wilderness (see Exodus 13:17-18). They were excited about the Promised Land alright, but they hated their desert experiences so much so that they wished they were back in Egypt, as slaves.
Jesus is not interested in lip service, and He made that plain to the disciples when He asked them, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not what I say?” (Luke 6:46 NIV). When Jesus was warning against false prophets, He said, “By their fruit you’ll recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Matthew 7:16-18 NIV).