This poem elaborates on the theme of God's rejection of his people, his city, and the place of his dwelling because he is angry with them. God is angry with his chosen people because they have trusted in the falsehood promoted by the false prophets who did nothing to expose the sins of the people (v. 14). The most obvious sign of his anger is the destruction of the temple (the splendor of Israel), the ark of the covenant (his footstool), and the altar (vv. 1, 6-7). These symbols of holiness have been removed from among a people who are no longer holy to the Lord. He has become an enemy to those who have become unfaithful to their covenant with him (vv. 4-5). Perhaps the worst tragedy is the cessation of God's communication through the law and the prophetic visions (v. 9). The media of revelation are temporarily withdrawn from the apostate who are under judgment, which brings upon them “a famine of hearing the words of the Lord” (Am 8:11). This judgment is the fulfillment of the word of the Lord who planned and decreed it through his spokesman long ago (v. 17). He does not allow sinners to escape or survive his judgment (v. 22). However, God may have pity for them if they come to his presence with a broken heart and tears of sorrow (vv. 18-21).
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