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Logistics

by Tim O'Hearn

Logistics. The commercials for one delivery company say, “I love logistics.” It is the lifeblood of the Army Quartermaster Corps. In the Navy, on the other hand, a Quartermaster is a navigator (figure that one out), and logistics is the job of the Supply Corps. Whatever you call the people that do it, logistics is an important part of any organization. Napoleon is quoted as saying (in French, of course) that an army marches on its stomach. In the American Civil War, General JEB Stuart’s cavalry was mostly used as messengers and to cut supply lines, until he showed the world what cavalry could effectively do. General Stuart was so effective at interrupting logistics that the war lasted for years longer than it should have.

If logistics is so important to an army or a company, imagine what it means to a nation. One of the most important events in American history was the completion of the transcontinental railroad. Its whole purpose was logistics. President Eisenhower had the Interstate Highway system built for the purpose of national logistics. Moses led over 600,000 men of fighting age–plus women, children, and those too old to fight–out of Egypt. Imagine the logistics.

While every family carried their own possessions, still God had to designate the order of the march and the placement of the camps. (Numbers 2) (See “The Camp of Israel” in Minutes With Messiah, March 2007 for a logic problem based on that chapter.) The rabbis say that when Balaam said, “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!” (Num 24:5), he was praising Israel for the placement of their tents so that no opening faced directly into that of another tent, thus ensuring privacy. With close to a million people, that takes some planning.

Then there was the moving of the Tabernacle. Numbers 4 addresses the logistics of just that one task. It was no small undertaking in itself, as certain pieces had to be carried by hand. Surely the bearers of the heavy gold-plated furnishings had to be changed several times a day, if not several times an hour. All of that had to be worked out by an expert in logistics.

But the real problem came in feeding all the people. They were, after all, now nomads with no farming. They took flocks and herds with them from Egypt, but apparently they were specifically designated for the sacrifices. The people, it seems, were not allowed to use those animals for daily sustenance.

And Moses said, The people, among whom I am, are six hundred thousand footmen; and thou hast said, I will give them flesh, that they may eat a whole month. Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them? (Num 11:20-22)

It appears that Moses is asking the Lord if he is going to have to use some of those animals as food. The question makes sense only if they have all these animals that could be used as food but are not being so used. If all these animals that they were herding around would not suffice the hungry nation, the logistics of feeding them otherwise seemed insurmountable.

But God is a God of logistics. He is the ultimate Quartermaster/Supply Corps. And without all the paperwork, no less. God’s logistics supply every need.

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (Matt 6:26-31)