Throughout World War II, the Allies conducted an extensive bombing campaign over Germany, reckoning that unrelenting distress and horror would grind them into submission. After the war, researchers were shocked to learn that the pummeling had just the opposite effect of solidifying the German people’s resolve to hold out as long as possible. The finding was no puzzle, principally in military and political circles, so there was no need to dig in some dark corner of history to know of it.
And yet, some thirty years later, the United States figured it could force the Viet Minh and North Vietnamese to give up by bombing the hell out of them, which, yes, made them all the more determined to hang on, which they did long enough to make the Americans give it up and go home.
Exodus 1:12 recount a story that sounds like a conundrum.
“But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites.”
That the more the Hebrews were vexed, the more they multiplied. It is a puzzle because the rationale for the increase in their share of work was one: To check their phenomenal growth. It is a sphinx because slavery is meant to stress, depress, suppress, repress and dehumanize. It is meant to rob people of their humanity and halt their progress. However, the human will is one of the hard to break things.
As we can observe from the above account of World War II, and the Vietnam war, it is simpler to break human legs and hands but next to impossible when it comes to their will. That is why people change only when God, through the Holy Spirit, works on them. I can’t start to imagine how headstrong I can get when I feel like someone is pushing me too hard. I can’t start to imagine how I behave when I am battling something: The will in me is so unyielding that I must triumph. That is how we are.
Now back to the story of the Hebrews. It is hard to break human will using little violence, more violence and even shock and awe violence. Now, imagine breaking the will of a people who have backing from God. A people who are operating under a kind of a supernatural providence!
The more the Egyptians applied force, the more the Hebrews hardened their resolve, and the more God worked mysteriously, from behind the curtain, to make them increase.
The Bible says that they multiplied. Multiplication is an addition that has been done pretty quickly; skipping tedious in-between calculations to arrive at an answer. Thus multiplication is a miracle. God performed among them miracles despite the hostile circumstances.
Finally, their God dealt their enemy the final blow when He used Moses to lead the greatest Prison Break in History. By then, they were numerous.
We can grow, advance and make headway even when conditions are inimical, as long as our faith is rooted, grounded and secured in God. Whatever the misfortunes, never call it quits.
Do not allow anything to break your spirit, your resolve and your will. Purpose to thrive in strife. Do not wait for the storm to calm before you start dancing.