Written Off

I’m not one for musicals or the classics in literature. My natural-born hicness keeps me from “getting it” most of the time. But there is one scene in the classic book/musical/movie “Les Miserables” that is unforgettable to me - I get it! In the scene, the main character Jean Valjean has been released after 14 years of incarceration in debtor’s prison.  He is free, but his is forced to carry a yellow passport that marks him as a convict. He walks the streets of France angry at a world that has consistently treated him unfairly. As each innkeeper sees his yellow passport and refuses to let him stay at their inn – his anger boils over as he is forced to sleep in the streets. But a bishop named Myriel kindly gives him a hot meal served with his finest silverware, a warm bed, and shelter for the night. Jean Valjean, is so convinced that all the injustices he’s suffered justifies doing whatever he felt he had to do to get ahead, chooses to steal the bishop’s silverware and run off into the night. Why not? You have to grab every advantage you can when you live in a world that keeps taking advantage of you. But, the police catch Jean Valjean red-handed, and he his brought back to the bishop’s home. There he stands, holding all the evidence of his guilt in his hands, on the verge of being thrown into prison for the rest of his life. The Bishop has every reason to write off Jean Valjean and give him what his guilt has earned him.I’ll come back to this scene in a later post, but are you now, or have you ever been, in a place like that - where you'd been caught red-handed, left without any defense, and you knew you fully deserved to be written off? Have you ever been in a place where you knew you deserved to be written off by God?  The northern nation of Israel (the part of Israel where Hosea prophesied) had done just about everything it could do to be written off by God. I mean if they had a “let’s-get-God-mad-at-us” checklist it would have read:

  • Dismiss all that God's done for us - Check!
  • Get in bed with every deity who offers us what we want for ourselves - Check!
  • Ruin our families and let our daughters become prostitutes for the god Baal -  Check!
  • Accuse God of impotence and give ourselves away to the god Baal - Check!

Northern Israel had done everything it could possibly do to have God completely write them off forever. So here's an important question. How does God respond when He has good reason to write people off? That's the question I want to explore in the next few posts as I wade through Hosea 3: 1- 5