Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Foxes In The Vineyard
I’m writing this after seeing five live, wild foxes over the last 10 days or so. I’ve seen them on country roads and along highways. I’ve even seen one of them in my very own yard! All were seen in broad daylight trotting or running along. After seeing the fourth one, I asked the Lord what He was saying via them. I then saw the fifth one merely hours later, 40 miles away. Needless to say, I was in awe since I can only recall seeing one live wild fox in my life prior to this. Many thoughts ensued beginning with commonly known facts about foxes. They’re sneaky little animals, often referred to as sly and cunning. I envisioned them sneaking in and out of chicken houses at night, in order to get their dinner. Upon further investigation, I found some very interesting characteristics of foxes and it was quickly revealed to me what the spiritual implications were.
In Song of Songs chapter 2, the two lovers discuss foxes getting into their vineyards. Verse 15 states, “Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom.” Several words within this short and quite simple passage intrigued me immediately. But before I delve into them, let’s look at several interesting characteristics of the animal known as fox. In biblical times, foxes were well known as predators that fed on small rodents and were therefore welcomed in grain crops. However, farmers discovered that the fox had an odd fondness for grapes. They were even known to tunnel under walls in order to get to grapevines, hence the reference in Song of Songs. Depending on the translation, some believe that the reference to foxes could be interchangeable with jackals - scavengers that made their dens in desolate places. Either way, we know that the fox represents a sly, cunning creature that’s goal was to sneak in and steal, often lying in wait for their prey.
To move this into the spiritual realm, I wholly believe that my recent encounters with foxes are a warning from the Lord. You see, all around me I see Believers refusing to go any further in the Lord. Others close to me have been diagnosed with disease or have been having bouts with depression. I myself have been running off “old man” thoughts over the last two weeks as well. Thoughts that have not been around for quite some time - thoughts that contradict my new creation mind of Christ. Welcome to the foxes, my friend. The devil comes to kill, steal and destroy. His one pathetic goal is to distract, confuse and outwit the sons and daughters of the Most High. The Lord says that he is becoming so brazen and bold as to roam about in the brightness of day in order to move about in our lives, just like the foxes I’ve seen. Foxes dwell in the dark. They even make their homes in dark holes and burrows, often abandoned by other animals. The devil also dwells in darkness, left with no place of his own. It is imperative that we see what enters our life that is meant to steal our joy, our health and our growth in the Lord. The scripture refers to them as little (or “young”) foxes. What may seem trivial and minute can often lead to a great fall. We must submit ALL unto Jesus and take captive EVERY thought. We must not allow any foxes to dig under the walls and enter our vineyard!
Speaking of the vineyard, let’s get back to Song of Songs. In 2:15, the “little foxes are ruining the vineyards”. We know that much, if not all, of Song of Songs can be viewed as the Bride being the Believer and the Bridegroom being Christ, so with that in mind, I find it interesting that they are saying this together, in unison. Notice, the vineyards are “their vineyards” (vs. 15b). You can see in later passages that they love being in the vineyard together and express each other’s love there. The phrase “are ruining” was understood, in the Hebrew text, to mean perverting, corrupting and destroying. The cunning foxes were trying to make their way into the vineyard in order to destroy something. What was it that the lovers were so interested in protecting? Why did they want to be sure and keep the foxes out of their vineyard at such a time? The end of verse 15 tells us that they wanted to catch the foxes “while (their) vineyards (were) in blossom”. To me, this speaks volumes. You see, the vineyards purpose was to produce one thing, grapes. The grapes had not arrived yet, for the vines were still in blossom. Meaning, the foxes ruining the vineyard amidst the blossoming would destroy all hopes of fruit ever being produced. Likewise, in the spiritual sense, the enemy’s sole purpose is to destroy the vineyard that you and the Lord Jesus are enjoying. The Lord’s plan is for fruit of His Kingdom to be born upon the vine. The devil’s goal is to thwart all things that are coming forth to produce fruit in your life.
I encourage you, don’t get hung up on the beauty and fragrance of the blossoms alone for it is the fruit that is the goal! So many Believers get so enamored with the blossoms (miracles, signs, the “glory”) that they forget that the purpose of the vine is the fruit! When the fruit comes and remains on the vine to maturity, then, and only then, can it produce the wine - the new wine, made from the fruit of the vine (Mark 14:25). More importantly, enjoy the blossoms, but be careful to run off all of the little foxes that desire to ruin your vineyard. So I say, “Lord, may we be watchmen on the walls and keepers of the vineyards. It is time for us to stay awake and aware in this hour! I choose to catch the foxes. I choose to enjoy the fragrance of Your beautiful vineyard and anticipate the arrival of the fruit on the vine. Lord, we long for the day when the new wine is poured out – come quickly for Your Bride.”