Skeptics often claim that the Old Testament accounts of God providing for Israel are a bunch of silly fairy tales. One target is the way God sustained the Israelites in their journey from Egypt to the promised land. Two weeks ago, we posted about God supplying manna. Another area of interest is the wind bringing quails in massive numbers into the camp of the people (Exodus 16:12-13 and Numbers 11:31-32).
The Middle East Eye website carries an article titled “Quail Season Brings Rare Treat for Meat-Starved Gazans.” It tells of a regular migration of quails from Europe to the Middle East. If the wind is blowing against the migration, the birds become exhausted and land on the Gaza shore, where people capture them in nets to provide a source of badly needed protein. The point is that there is a natural way in which quails can provide food for a nation of people even today.
God provides for His people in two ways. One is by miraculous acts that are not natural and which require a direct act of God. These are rare, but they do happen. Jesus did things that have no natural explanation, and their purpose was to verify that Jesus was the Son of God. One of my favorite gospel songs is a song by the Booth Brothers titled “Ask the Blind Man, He Saw it all.” That kind of event does not have natural explanations.
However, far more common are situations like this one where we see God using natural forces to provide for the needs of His people. This action is no less significant because the timing met a specific need for the Israelites. God could have provided quails for food by any method He chose, but seeing the wind bringing quails to Gaza today offers strong support for God acting through natural processes in the biblical account.
— John N. Clayton © 2021