The description of God’s judgment, is that of an overwhelming judgment.
The breath, carries the connotation of a powerful wind. The overflowing stream, describes a powerful and fast-moving flooding stream. Reaching to the neck, describes the overwhelming nature of the judgment and the ultimate powerlessness of the individual.
The sieve, is something that is typically used in an agricultural setting, wherein the good grain is retained in the dust and chaff and bad stuff fall through.
Vanity, is a word typically used for arrogance or emptiness or nothingness. These are all synonyms describing the value, which is no value, of the individual who has no truth within them.
And anyone, who does not pursue a daily study of the word of God, or does not live their life within the spiritual process mechanism, will by default, have nothing but emptiness within them. Their life is meaningless and worthless and empty. And they fall through the sieve, and are swept away.
But God will apply this to nations, entire nations, which describes the state of the world in the final days of history, but certainly could be used to describe the nations in this world even today.
And the last phrase is an interesting phrase. The bridle that leads astray.
The bridle is a piece of equipment that is strapped around the neck of an animal, typically a horse, thus allowing the horse, or the animal, to be led by someone else. The bridle is typically attached to a bit, which is placed in the mouth of the animal, giving the person leading it, more authority and control over the animal.
When the bridle is strapped on tight, and the person leading the animal is stronger than the animal, then regardless of how much the animal resists or fights the bridle, they have no choice but to follow, and go where they are led.
The animal is symbolic. This describes the spiritually negative individual.
The bridle is symbolic. This describes the volition of the individual, and the decisions they make themselves.
And the one leading them, which is implied within this verse, is their sin nature, which they have subjected themselves voluntarily, through their own volition and decisions, to lead themselves in the direction of the sin nature.
And the sin nature always leads astray. Meaning, that they are led away from truth.
And God, who controls everything, allows negative people to lead themselves astray. God permits free will, and people are given the right to make their own decisions, even if they are the wrong decisions.
Therefore, people of their own choice, which includes indifference and apathy, and a defiant attitude toward God, toward Christ, toward Bible doctrine, toward the instruction of Bible doctrine, place themselves under the restraint of a bit and bridle of their own making.
And when people are indifferent towards learning truth, or resist learning truth for whatever reason, they subject themselves to an overwhelming power and authority, which is a sin nature.
And so they are caught up, as it were, all the way to their neck, in a fast moving powerful flooding stream, from which there is virtually no escape, due to their own effort.
The only way out, is through the effort of God through Christ and doctrine.
And the only way to get rid of the bit and bridle, is to change the attitude and start learning Bible doctrine.