The amazement of the Cubs winning the World Series continues. Last Friday, the city of Chicago held a parade in their honor – and it was attended by an estimated 5 million people – that’s right, 5 MILLION people attended a parade in Chicago. While the crowd size was estimated, that’s pretty much how these mega events are counted – by people specifically trained in crowd management and population guesstimates.
Experts stated that this gathering was the 7th largest gathering of people in the history of the world! And also the largest assembly of people ever in the Western Hemisphere. The largest assembly ever was a pilgrimage in 2013 that attracted more than 30 million people and many of the top 6 events had to do with massive funerals or religious events. To think that the Cubs could pull off a top 10 event is mind boggling.
Aside from the actual parade itself, city officials turned the Chicago River blue and Grant Park attracted millions of people. People started arrival in the middle of the night to secure spots along the parade route and by 9 a.m., crowds were already 20 rows deep along most of the streets on the parade route.
After the parade, certain members of the Cubs made an appearance on Saturday Night Live with Bill Murray and sand the Cubs’ victory song. Although it was fun to watch, I think the players should keep their day jobs – none of them could carry a tune in a bucket. But it was fun to see Bill Murray performing a little again – even if it was singing with the players.
The Bible tells us that there were many events that also had large crowds for that time in history. Jesus grew in popularity and on several occasions, preached to large masses of people who actually took part in the miracle of the feeding of the 5000. It is believed that Moses led more than 2 million people across the desert to the Promised Land and we also know at the day of Pentecost that there were thousands who heard Peter preach and decided to accept the gift of eternal life and be baptized. We are told that near the beginning of the Acts 2 church, more than 3000 people came to know Christ. This was certainly a great revival.
The verse for tonight reminds us of one of the problems that David had to deal with. The Israelites had been specifically told by God that they were not to count the troops that were at their disposal. However, in a weak moment and prompted by Satan, King David took a census of Israel. He overrode the objection of Joab and demanded to know how many troops he had.
We are told, in 1 Chronicles 21:4-7, “The king’s word, however, overruled Joab; so Joab left and went throughout Israel and then came back to Jerusalem. Joab reported the number of the fighting men to David: In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who could handle a sword, including four hundred and seventy thousand in Judah. But Joab did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, because the king’s command was repulsive to him. This command was also evil in the sight of God; so he punished Israel.”
The point here is that David was disobedient to God. Furthermore, there is another lesson to be learned. And that is that sometimes numbers just don’t matter. God is awesome and when He dedicates resources to a project, He knows what will get the job done. My encouragement tonight is that God already knows the resources we have and what we will need to accomplish His goals in whatever endeavor we are engaged in. My prayer is that you will trust God and realize that the greatest crowd ever assembled will be in heaven when all the believers are together worshipping the Creator of everything. It will put the Cubs’ parade to shame – and that celebration will be truly unbelievable! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…