By Paul Chong Friday, 13 November 2009
Once in a while we witness & marvel at great happenings of nature & wonder. But when miracles happen frequently on a daily basis all awe & significance are seemingly lost or are taken for granted. This is in reference to undoubtedly the greatest of logistic miracles ever to occur with the lives of the Israelites when wandering through the deserts for 40 long years before reaching the Promised Land.
We often familiarly hear of miracle cure with some deadly or terminal diseases. What seem to be humanly & medically impossible unexpectedly turn out to be possible is what miracle is all about. We would say that his recovery was a blessed miracle – a wonder, marvel, sensation, phenomenon, or a supernatural mystery . . . something unexplainable. A miracle cure goes against all logic of medicine & science.
After the great Exodus from Egypt, Moses led his people through desert land, living it out in hostile environment & wandering for a long 40 years before setting their eyes upon the Promised Land – the Land as promised by God to them “flowing with milk & honey.” Those long years of wandering were destined by God to rid off a generation of idolaters, & people who showed a lack of faith complaining constantly against God.
Originally, it was intended for the Israelites to proceed directly from Egypt to Canaan. In the Book of Numbers 1:46, we learnt that from the 70 that went into Egypt (Genesis 47:27), the total number involved in the Exodus was 603,550 of men 20 years & older. The turning point happened in Numbers 14 when all the people grumbled against the Lord. As a consequence the Lord said that all the people counted in the census would die in the desert except for Caleb & Joshua who would eventually lead the people into Canaan.
Even the rebelliousness of the people rubbed off on Moses & Aaron who were not allowed into the Promised Land, when they failed to give due credit to God for the miracle of producing water from the rock. Thus Moses came to live a 40 year-life in the palace of Pharaoh, 40 years as a refugee in Midian, and 40 years as a leader of the Israelites in the wilderness.
Life in the wilderness must have been hard. By the second census taken in Numbers 26, the total number was 601,730 with Caleb & Joshua surviving from the first census. Can you imagine what kind of logistics & planning is required to feed & care for that multitude of people in the hot wilderness? What was he to do with them?
In the modern scenario, taking from the experience of The Desert Storm of the American Forces in the Middle East, according to the Quartermaster General in the Army, say on the basis of feeding 2 to 3 million soldiers, Moses would require:
- 1500 tons of food daily
- 4000 tons of wood to cook the food each day
- 11,000,000 gallons of water each day for drinking & washing
It would have required Moses to have two freight trains, each as mile long to transport in the food. Similarly, it was necessary to freight in the firewood for the daily requirement. For the water, another freight train with tank carts, 1800 miles long would be necessary. There were no freight trains in the Biblical days!
What about accommodation & camping at the end of the day’s wandering? It’s estimated that a campground two-thirds the size of the State of Rhode Island was required, or a total of 750 square miles long!
Do you think that Moses figured all these logistics & mathematical problems out before departing from Egypt? What about the question of storage of food in a hot, stifling warehouse – so that food might be fit for consumption? The whole affair would require a logistics support team of science, engineering & packaging personnel.
These are just the basic & fundamental requirements & needs of the people, who lived & wandered in the wilderness not for a year or two but for 40 long years. Did we mention the need to clothe them against cold at night & clothing suitable for day’s heat?
Moses couldn’t have conceived all these problems before setting out of Egypt. Moses believed in God. God took care of these things for him. Everything that sustained the lives of the Israelites for 40 years in the wilderness was well provided for by God. There was no logistics support team . . . just one miracle after another.
Lest we forget, getting across the Red Sea was a great miracle. Logistically, if they went on a narrow path, double file, the line would be 800 miles long and would require 35 days & nights to get through. So, there had to be space in the Red Sea, 3 miles wide so that they would walk 5000 abreast to get over in one night.
Now would you ever doubt that God would forsake you?