Churning mud into brick is a workout that makes planking feel like holding onto a swing while someone else pushes. Hard manual labor in the burning Egyptian sun was the plight of God's chosen people, for decades. The people, as resilient as they still are, would eventually adapt themselves to a lifestyle equivalent to that of dogs, horses and mules. Options weren't available to them. For generations they had succumbed to a fate that God had (for decades, Himself) ensured that they were NOT to be subjected to, yet there they were. Day in and day out performing menial tasks, laborious DIY projects and low end services to their oppressors. Yes, this is the time to break out Charleton Heston and Co in Hollywood's best try at depicting this portion of Jewish history in technicolor of course, "The Ten Commandments". As we visualize what this era must of been like for God's favorite people group on the planet, we can only imagine the liberation moments as being a LONG overdue answer to many prayers. We can place ourselves in these moments as we, too, have experienced freedom at some level, in some form in our lives. The confusion, however, is found at the actions that these children (of Israel) proceeded to live out AFTER said liberation and the miraculous moving of heaven and earth to get them there (hello, the Red Sea!).
To adapt simply means to modify or adjust to new conditions or for a new purpose. In Exodus 1 we learn all about how the Israelites were first enslaved to the Egyptians. A new king jumped on the Egyptian throne and recognized the need to overpower the Jews, if by no other reason than population numbers. As the new king entered the scene, we see the Israelites adapting to something below their creation level with the introduction of slave drivers and overseers who ensured that they stayed small in their own eyes (though they were large in the eyes of the Egyptian ruler). Remember, we naturally adapt when something new causes us to modify or adjust, believing that we need to conform or fit in. So as we see their behavior begin to degenerate back toward what they had adapted to (when first enslaved) we see a lesson to us unfold. Careful though, if we blink, we can very well miss it.
Exodus 32:7-8 (NLV)
"Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go down. For your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, have turned to sin. They have been quick to turn aside from the way I have told them. They have melted gold and made a calf for themselves. They have worshiped it, have given gifts to it and have said, 'This is your god, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt!'"
So, just to clear things up a bit, in these verses God is speaking these things to Moses who is currently on top of Mount Sanai getting instructions for the future of his people. This is AFTER all of the miracles that God performed to get this rather large group of people to freedom. This behavior is not only happening, but it is being blessed and allowed by Aaron (who Moses left in charge). The people were reverting back to their old methods. The Egyptians were BIG on idol worship. They were BIG on sinning. And after all that the Israelites had just been through, they start acting like insane Egyptians the first chance they got! Kind of makes us wonder, how much better are we doing?
This is the part where we need to tape our eyelids open, so we don't miss a thing. When something new is introduced, we naturally seek guidance as to how we must adapt to it. This guidance can come from anywhere, as we see in the example that we have of the Israelites who reverted back to the Egyptian ways under the guidance of a demonic force. We are able to see that without God's guidance, instead of adapting, we revert. Lot's wife learned this lesson the hard way in (Genesis 19:26) when she embodied what many people who long for their usual ways of doing life are often times ensnared by. We can only adapt to what is before us, but if we revert to our old default in the flesh, back to the brick making days we go! So what does this mean in PLAIN ENGLISH for us 21st Century Jesus followers? Because living as a NEW CREATION is uncharted territory. Without the TRUTH lighting our path towards a new way of living we will reach back to who we used to be in the past and navigate blindly into what lies ahead. WAIT. Let's rephrase that for those who missed it. The ONLY adaptation that we MUST make is to God's word. Romans 8:5 tells us where adaptation begins, in a RENEWED Mindset.
So what does the word say about the NEW things coming our way (and those that are here even now)? When societal norms are thrashed and a new way of life is forced upon all people because of the world being in upheaval, we the Jesus gang, must simply look to our TRUSTED of point of reference that we have already adapted to (ideally) to get us through. And what does it mean to adapt to God's way of life? It means to conform or take on the heart of our heavenly Father.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJ)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
This verse is worthy of an eye rub here. ALL THINGS HAVE BECOME NEW. This means that we are continuously adapting to the revelation of God's NEW ways of thinking and of living (2 Corinthians 3:18) and we know that His ways are not our ways until the renewal is complete (Isaiah 55:8-11). In the ever shifting, changing and devolving ways of the systems of man, we need to follow closely to the pattern of Jesus who was definitely in the location of this world, but had adapted to none of it. He walked and talked like no other man before Him, and left His foot and hand prints on the hearts and souls of everyone He encountered (including us).
The secret that Jesus utilized in order to stop the gravitational pulling of conformity and adaptation towards the LIES that were mocking Him as the ultimate nonconformist, was (and still is) what He understood and knew to be the TRUTH of His relationship with and the acceptance of His Father. What God says about our ability to live totally adapted to His thoughts and ways can be best summarized in Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Jesus adjusted to anything that came His way because He was already immovably adapted to His Father. Jesus was rock solid and anchored in perfect rhythm with a fixed point of TRUTH that allowed Him to move about freely and at the same time and space, not subjugated to anything that tried to enslave Him.
God went to work immediately with his reclamation project after He rescued His people from Egyptian bondage. His people had become so adapted to the degrading ways of the Egyptian world system that He put together a series of instructions requiring their adaptation to Him. We call these instructions The Commandments, the ordinances and the statutes, but God calls them the re-humanization of about three million people who didn't know anything other than bondage for many generations. This, friends, is what we call God's ultimate adaptation of a holy nation, which includes the entire body of Christ. Yep, all of us.