So, in the first chapter of the book of Numbers, God has Moses take a census of the Israelites. And the tally of men over the age of 20 was 603,550. That’s just men over the age of 20 (who are able to be part of an army). So, when you figure in women, children, and elderly men, scholars estimate that the total size of the Israelite community at this time was between 2 and 3 million people.
I suppose there were a lot of different things I could have chosen to say about this chapter. But honestly, as I read over the list of numbers, I was only thinking one thing: How in the world did God feed all these people every day?
Okay, I know how He fed them. He made bread — that manna stuff — show up on the ground every morning, and I believe there was quail in the evening. (Or perhaps the quail was a one-time thing. I’ll have to check.) But the manna was every day. I think we sometimes think of that story as an isolated event. But these were 2 million people out in the middle of nowhere. They had to eat! And God fed them every, single day.
So, I got a little curious and decided to do some of that highly-unscientific internet research I’m so fond of. How would the world’s most famous restaurant, McDonald’s, compare with God? Did you know that an average McDonald’s restaurant, during "rush" hours, serves about 60 people? When you think about it, that’s going at a pretty good clip. That would be taking the order, preparing and wrapping the food, and serving it — all of that to one customer every minute. Probably a pretty reasonable estimate.
So, let’s pretend that a McDonald’s restaurant served up food at a "rush" hour pace 24 hours a day. At the end of the day, they would have been able to serve 1,440 people. That’s all. This means that, in order to serve as many people as God was serving on a daily basis, the Israelites would have needed nearly 1,400 McDonald’s restaurants!
Of course, God has supernatural ways of getting things done. But feeding 2 million people a day in one fell swoop? Now that’s what I call an Extra Value Meal! In our media-driven age, can’t you just hear the commercial? It would take nearly fourteen hundred McDonald’s restaurants to equal the feeding power of our God.
And He did it every day, 365 days a year, for 40 years. Talk about numbers! By the time the Israelites were done wandering in the wilderness, God could have put up a sign that said Jehovah — Over 29 billion served!