In this first chapter it's been 40 years that Israel has wandered and getting close to the time they will enter into Canaan. Moses gives a recap of what happened the first time they were supposed to enter. Most of us are familiar with the story but lets look at the last section beginning at verse 41.
The people repented but too late and perhaps not entirely. They decide to do it them selves, putting on armor and going to battle after God said that He would not go. I don't know if it was a pride and arrogance thing or just poor judgment but it's a continuing flaw in all of us, too many times we think that we can do it without God only to be beaten.