Even though I gave them all my laws,
they act as if those laws don’t apply to them.
Hosea 8:12 (NLT)
In my daily vocation, I spend a lot of time helping companies monitor and assess the quality of service delivered in phone calls between their employees and customers (e.g. “Your call may be monitored for training purposes.”). The never ending effort in Quality Assessment (QA) is to to objectively measure the service level in a given call or set of calls.
One of the threats to objective measurement is how you handle the applicability of certain behavioral elements in a given quality scale. If you have 20 elements in your scale and 10 of them were “not applicable” to a given phone call, then those 10 should not be factored into your results. By crediting someone for things that did not apply you introduce “noise” into the resulting data and the corresponding results are skewed. Likewise, if you choose to say that a number of behaviors are not applicable when they really are, you will once again end up with an inaccurate result.
In Hosea’s day, the people of Israel were doing something similar with God’s laws. They shrugged off God’s quality criteria as “not applicable,” ran their own personal assessment, and came up with a false positive. It’s easy to do the same thing today. We want to be judged on a sliding scale or on the curve (i.e. “Well I’m not as bad as THAT guy!”) instead of being honest about what God considers truly applicable.