“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
There is an idiom that says ‘the Devil is in the details.’ Interestingly, it came about after the establishing of an older saying, ‘God is in the detail.’ Regardless of how either of these expressions are used today, particularly in business settings, I find them fitting descriptions of the battle being waged for the Bride.
From the beginning of Vineyard Days and woven throughout His message to this point, the Bridegroom has plied His intended Bride with the detail of her holy blueprint. He has invited her to come away with Him that He might begin developing her through the processes appointed for her. Her potential and the perspective through which He clearly sees her has been powerfully conveyed. Undaunted by her reluctance or ignorance, He continues to speak to her of things redemptive and restoring. He paints for her a picture of who and what He so clearly knows His Bride will one day be.
Despite her self-view, including her self-will, selfishness, and lack of self-acceptance (each key to her becoming), the Husbandman (the Father) and the Bridegroom (the Son), with the blessed aid of the Holy Spirit, are their own Ways and Means committee. They have ways, they have means to produce in her that, which left to herself, could not and would not be brought into being. Assuredly, ‘God is in the detail.’
He is in the detail of the Bride; in the detail of His Body. He is in the detail of His creation. He is in the detail of each person. His omnipotence is such that He reigns supreme over the very universe, yet gladly gives Himself to the least individual who exercises faith to believe in Him and chooses to follow Him. He is in the overall Detail and the minutiae of details. He’s equally comfortable with both, fazed by neither.
His blossoming Wife-to-be, on the other hand, is in the vineyard with its very increase being threatened. Not incidentally, so too the vintage of this day and time in which the Church and the Bride are living. Herein is the importance of catching the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, leading to a threatened vintage.
In the previous post, The House of the Vineyard, we identified the Bridegroom’s instruction to the Shulamite to ‘catch the foxes, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom.’ Though much could be written with nuances up the gazoo, let’s focus on three key elements that apply across the board. If you are a human being who has come into salvation through Christ and are in the process of sanctification (being consecrated and set apart for Him), then these points apply to you:
Proverbs 8, the rendering of Wisdom, which is Christ Himself, provides us with a super-key of how to ‘catch…the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards…’ One could (and would be behooved to) soak for hours in this one chapter with a teachable and pliable heart that is open to Holy Spirit’s guidance into all truth. Including the truth of identifying the ‘little foxes’ that have enjoyed free run and reign in life.
To put into practice the heeding of Wisdom’s instruction in this one chapter of all the Living Word is to turn and look into the face and form and hear the voice of Christ Himself. The very thing He asks of us one verse earlier in SS 2:14 – “Let me see your form; let me hear your voice.” His image, from glory to glory with every ‘little fox’ seized and held in possession (restrained) in deference to living a life of holiness.
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me early find me.” Proverbs 8:17
In The House of the Vineyard, reference was made to one’s ability to scream out, “too late!” when it comes to considering the overrun of little foxes in one’s personal vineyard and the vineyard at large. It is precisely here that the burrows in the vineyard can become long and deep, providing dark nesting places. Then when the tender grape appears – the firstfruit of yet another deeper etching of His image – the little foxes come out on the prowl, determined to destroy the early signs of a vintage abloom.
I was getting ready one morning some time ago when Holy Spirit impressed on me this revelation of truth:
To seek Him early is not to merely be relegated to suggestion as to the time of day we should read our Bible and pray. In the beginning stages of a young vine, that may be helpful. But for the established vine that has been through more than a few cycles with the Husbandman of their life, it is a compelling reminder to seek Him early, seek Him earnestly, seek Him before anything else.1
Holy Spirit impressed further the understanding that the ‘little foxes’ can and will likely be present at the onset of any new venture or continuing development and growth in maturity. If not dealt with in seasons past, one may find similar ‘ruining’ continuing on, as cyclical as the pruning process the Lord is about, for the necessary pruning and the little foxes are often linked.
As one matures and understanding of His ways and means is deepened, so too is the desire and capacity to turn to Him quickly, seeking Him with diligence early on when the little foxes make their appearance.
His declaration that He loves those who love Him, and that those who seek Him early will find Him, is the antidote of promise to the ill-believed “too late.” At the first recognition, no matter how ‘late’ it may seem or even be in one’s life, He will do what He promised: make all things new and preserve the tender grape.
The third and final element to which we will briefly look is one that deserves more attention than what it can receive here in Vineyard Days. In many ways, it is key to the work of the ministry to which my husband and I have been called and with which we have been entrusted. It is this: Speaking and ministering the Word of Truth in the place of the lie that has run rampant in people’s lives.
In Song of Songs 2:15, the injunction to ‘Catch the foxes’ links directly to Ezekiel 13:4ff, Luke 13:32, II Peter 2:1-3, and Revelation 2:2. In each of these scriptures, ‘the foxes’ are the false prophets and teachers, the cunning, the liar, the deceitful, the wicked, the untrue.
Foxes are known to be sly and cunning burrowers. Left to grow and multiply, they choke out life.
With that, we’ll pause. Join me next time as we hopefully finish chapter 2 of the Shulamite’s story.
~ Gracefully Free
1 Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
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.