During World War II, the Allies carried out a massive bombing campaign over Germany, figuring that unrelenting suffering and terror would beat them into submission. After the war, researchers were surprised to discover that it had the opposite effect by stiffening the German people’s resolve to hold out as long as possible. The finding was no secret, especially 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 relate to us 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 went through vexation, the more they multiplied. It is a conundrum because the rationale for the increase in their portion of work was one: To thwart them. It is a conundrum because slavery is meant to depress, suppress, repress and dehumanise. It is intended to rob people of their humanity and halt their progress. However, the human will is one of the hard things to break. As we can observe from the above account of World War II and the Vietnam war, it is easier to break human legs and hands but next to impossible when it comes to will. That is why people only change when God, through the Holy Spirit, works on them. I can’t start to imagine how stubborn I can get when I feel like someone is pushing me too hard. I can’t begin to think of how to behave when I am fighting something: The will in me is so unyielding that I must win. That is how we are.
Now back to the story of Hebrews. It is hard to break human will using little violence, more violence, and even shock and awe style violence. Now picture, breaking the will of a people who have backing from God! A kind of a supernatural providence!
The more the Egyptians applied pressure, the more the Hebrews hardened their resolve, and the more God worked mysteriously, from behind the curtain, to make them prosper.
The Bible says that they multiplied. Multiplication is an addition that has been done very first; skipping tedious in-between calculations to arrive at an answer. Thus multiplication is a miracle. God performed among them miracles despite the sad circumstances.
We can grow, advance and make headway even when circumstances are unfriendly, as long as our faith is grounded in God. Whatever the hardships are happening around us should never stop our resolve of growth and development.
Do not allow anything to break your spirit, your resolve, your will. Purpose to thrive in strife; do not wait for the storm to calm before you start swinging and swirling.