God was faithful to His covenant; in Egypt He made of Jacob a great nation (Genesis 46:3–4), and, in Egypt, they were afflicted (Genesis 15:13–14). Affliction and multiplication were both His brushstrokes. He steps back from the canvass saying, “Very good!” God’s blessing brought persecution; both were part of His plan.
The multiplication led to the oppression, but that isn’t what Moses says in v. 12. He doesn’t say the more they multiplied the more they were oppressed, but, the more they were oppressed the more they multiplied. The serpent tries to stomp out the seed but his stomping is God’s sowing. The people of God are like cells that when you cut them they don’t die, they multiply. God writes blessing bigger than the serpent’s eraser. He also puts a pencil lead into Satan’s eraser. The greater his rage, the more marks there are. The more marks there are, the greater his rage. Repeat cycle. God turns the serpent’s eraser into a pencil to tell His tale.
It always works this way. When the serpent bit the heel of the Seed of the woman, the Seed did die, but He sprouted from the ground the Firstfruits of the harvest. When death tried to kill Life, Life wasn’t extinguished, it was multiplied.
The serpent tries to stomp the seed of Abraham plural. He only makes it more plural. Cells are split, the body of Christ grows. The church caught on quickly. “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,” says Tertullian. Satan still rages, meaning, he still writes—God’s story. In 1920 the church in China comprised an estimated 2.3 million souls. Now, some say conservatively, thanks to hostile communism, there are 100 million. One could say that the persecution was a brutal as the growth was exponential, but the persecution came first. The more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied. As punishment for his sin against man, God is making Satan write Exodus 1:12 on the board a trillion times, and then, hell to follow.
God has not forgotten His covenant. He is multiplying His people still. He is using the serpent still. Don’t get comfortable in this world, find peace in God’s covenant. We’re in Egypt. God is multiplying, but we’re not home yet. The greater Moses has come, and is sure to return.