“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards,
while our vineyards are in blossom.”
Song of Songs 2:15 NASB
I almost entitled this post in the series Little Foxes, but chose The House of the Vineyard instead. There is such a depth to scripture that it never ceases to speak. ‘Vineyards’ in the above verse means House of the Vineyard. In the Hebrew*, it most especially refers to family. Tracing it back farther, it speaks of to build or begin to build, obtain children, repair, make and set up.
No wonder the Bridegroom is imploring His dove – this mate of His with whom He desires to build a home and obtain children (the fruit of their union); to repair a family already established; to make and set (up) a family where none has been – to ‘catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards…’ (the family, the dwelling place).
Dealing with little foxes is crucial to the resulting harvest of the vineyard. Why? Because they are already ‘ruining the vineyards while (they) are in blossom.’ It’s not some future circumstance that may or may not occur. The little foxes are alive and well. The word of instruction to the becoming Bride is ‘catch them.’
Have you ever heard the Lord speak sternly to you? If you have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying, you likely have. Somehow, He gets His message across. Even still, we weigh the balance of our response.
My will or His will? The little foxes are not so bad; besides, we’re human. Furthermore, it’s all under grace.
With that musing, let’s return to the Shulamite-dove who is, after all, a picture of…us.
Tucked away with the Bridegroom in the secrecy of the steep place, He speaks to her expressions of assurance and words of instruction. Whether she (or we) likes it or not, to come away and follow Him – indeed, being separated unto Him – means this is a dynamic duo of life with Christ.
It is an incomplete love for the heart that chooses to have and hold only the words of assurance and endearment, but does not invite and embrace the words of instruction and correction as well. Drawing such distinction in our relationship with the Lord is about as fruitful as it is in earthly relationships, not the least of which in marriage.
Recalling that the message here is gender-neutral and applies to all believers in Christ, be assured the Beloved knows what each one needs in the way of implements and tools in the Shepherd’s hut. This Lord of Love wields justice and righteousness with equal passion and strength. His Bride will do the same. Not because She was coddled, but because She was qualified. Cooperating with Him, they’ll have become One.
Now, back to the little foxes…
The Hebrew* description is as varied as the ways in which little foxes manifest themselves. Primarily it means to seize. So when He told her to ‘catch the foxes for us…’, He was instructing her to lay hold and get, have, or take possession of those ruinous hindrances that, if not caught when small, would grow to become the source of damage and harm, leaving disastrous outcomes in their wake.
No one knows better than me how tempting it is to throw up your hands in the air and scream, “too late!” Except maybe Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, David, Jesus (weeping over Jerusalem), and many more – the famous, and the unknown but to a small circle, alike; the family; the house of the vineyard.
The Bridegroom’s caution about the little foxes applies across the board. The house of the vineyard is each individual temple of the Living Lord. It is the family structure, is it not, where little foxes have been sly or run rampant? Too, it is the family of God. The house of the vineyard is comprised of relationships found not only in the neighborhood church building, but in the corporate living, breathing global Body of Christ.
There is no place or position where our life in Christ is being lived out that the message of the little foxes does not apply. Where there is a growing vineyard, there remains the cyclical care of the Husbandman who has determined that there should be fruit.
Where there is to be a harvest of fruit, there must first be tender (early) grapes. And where there are tender grapes, the foxes like to burrow.
Because they effect much ruin the Bridegroom has provided a remedy and yet another word of assurance:
I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me early find Me. Proverbs 8:17
Join me here next time for more regarding the little foxes.
~ Gracefully Free
*Strong’s Concordance: H1004, H1129; H270
Shammahs Field LLC/Shammah Ministries is the biblical counseling, life coaching, and spiritual growth ministry entrusted to Wayne & Nancy Bentz. You can learn more about the resources they have to offer at shammahsfield.com and nancybentz.com.