Before something can be transformed, it must first have been formed. Basic definitions of transform include: change in composition, structure, outward appearance, character or condition. Similarly before someone can conform to a concept or premise that concept or premise must first have been established or formed. Basic definitions of conform include: to be in agreement or harmony, to be obedient or compliant.
To begin with God, created, made, and/or formed the earth and its inhabitants. He then established the relationships between man and the rest of His creation, the relationship between man and his Creator, and the relationship between man and his brother. Inasmuch as God created all things He is sovereign over His creation. It was not meant for man to question God’s sovereignty or wisdom.
“…Oh man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay…?” Romans 9:19-20
Remember when Job questioned God’s wisdom and God replied to Job thusly:
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” Job 38:4
God likewise formed, established, and chose Israel to illustrate the above mentioned relationships, particularly the intended relationship between man and his God.
“But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.’” Isaiah 43:1
“Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” Isaiah 43:7
“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth…Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.” Deuteronomy 7:6, 11
“Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessing shall come upon you…” Deuteronomy 28:1-2
“But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you…” Deuteronomy 28:15
God established Israel to be an example to all the nations and gave them explicit instructions outlining what He expected of them and furthermore detailed the consequences of their choices. They were expected to conform to His commandments and statutes.
Israel, however, thought they knew better. They began to reform and transform the instructions God had given them. The Bible is filled with pleas from God to Israel to return to His original plan for them. Conformation to His original plan would restore Israel to their intended standing with their Creator. God knew what was best for Israel and any deviance from His plan would reduce Israel’s effectiveness and blessings.
“Remember these, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are My servant; I have formed you…you will not be forgotten by Me! I have blotted out…your transgressions… Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:21-22
“If you will return, O Israel…And if you will put away your abominations out of My sight, then you shall not be moved.” Jeremiah 4:1
“It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the adversities which I purpose to bring upon them, that everyone may return from his evil way, that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” Jeremiah 36:3
“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness…” Joel 2:12-13
“For I am the LORD, I do not change…Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them.. Return to Me, and I will return to you…Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him…” Malachi 3:6-7, 18
“I blasted you with blight and mildew…I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt…I overthrew some of you, as…Sodom and Gomorrah…yet you have not returned to Me, says the LORD. Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel…Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” Amos 4:6-12
The prophet Isaiah summed it up very well for Israel.
“And you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth…” Isaiah 51:13
The Hebrew word for forget in the above passage means “to be oblivious from want of memory or attention.”
The New Testament recognizes the same potential hazard with the church.
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15
“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of… and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise…” 2 Timothy 3:14-15
Therefore, when the president of the United States proclaims that he will “fundamentally transform America” it should cause every citizen to pause and consider what that means and determine for themselves if that is really the best course for this blessed nation.
In other words, is America’s future best served with leaders that are transformers or conformers?