The first part of this chapter in verses 1-12 shows us how God intends to punish the Israelites for their lack of obedience. The list in these verses is sorrowful and would be devastating to any population.
The list contains the following, in one form or another:
– The removal of food and water
– The removal of strength and leadership
– The removal of wisdom and skill
– A child leading an oppressed people
– No social peace and family infighting
When we see these penalties listed out as they are, it reminds us that these are things that are typically blessings. God supplies man the platforms of wisdom and strength that propel us to greatness. God gives us what we need to survive and thrive. To take these things away is at His discretion. When we think of the things we enjoy in life, it helps us to be more righteous and right-sized when we regularly consider the source of our blessings:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
Verses 8-12 conclude the first part of the chapter with the idea that all of these consequences are the result of the sinful and rebellious actions of the Israelites. The fact that we reap what we sow is clearly stated:
“Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, For they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, For the reward of his hands shall be given him.” Isaiah 3:10-11
Day to day it is so very useful to remember that what we give, we will receive. Walking in Christ and doing God’s will leads to a blessed life. Selfishness and sin leads to sorrow and pain.
The last part of the chapter begins with a condemnation of those who would take advantage of the poor and continues with an absolute incrimination of the females of Israel that were sinning before God.
The description of beauty walking about, concentrating on meaningless things seems familiar to us. Because we have seen females like this, have we not? Outstretched necks and wanton eyes describe a woman that is full of herself and looking for trouble. Hey beauty is great and the influence of her presence is strong. But her spirit is corrupted. The power of these verses is clear as we read the macabre description of a decrepit derelict, robbed of all her glory and refinement.
This punishment of the Israelite women was a reality and was the result of their disobedience. Let this description of their eventual state serve as a warning to us all: the wages of sin is death – physical and spiritual death.
It needs also be mentioned that the “woman” here described is actually the main of Israel itself.
“The labor of the righteous leads to life, The wages of the wicked to sin.” Proverbs 10:16
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23