“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, while our vineyards are in blossom.” (Song of Solomon 2:15 NASB)
The above verse is tiny, easy to miss amidst the lines of poetry that makes up the book of the Song of Solomon; and as I was busily trying to find meaning in chapter 2 of what I consider to be a difficult book for my “non-poetic” mind, I skimmed right through this verse. I wouldn’t have even gone back to reread the section, except for the nudging of God’s Spirit, who, in His subtle, gentle way, was desiring to reveal a deep truth to me…
Let’s take a look for a moment at the imagery of this verse. We can see in our minds’ eye a bunch of fox cubs, cuddly and red. Totally cute, totally harmless…During much of the year, I suspect that little foxes wouldn’t do a vineyard much harm. In this case, however, the vineyards are in bloom, and in their play, the cubs are knocking off the tiny blossoms.
Now let’s see what the rest of the Bible has to say about this imagery.
Jesus talked a lot about vineyards: “I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NASB). Thus Jesus is the main “stalk” of the grapevine, and we are the tendrils, and it is when we remain in Christ that we “bear fruit”.
Jesus also had other things to say about bearing fruit: “…but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit…” (John 15:16a NASB); and “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 7:19 NASB) Here we see that Jesus chose us so that we will bear fruit, and if we do not, we will be cut off!
There are many more references in the Bible to bearing fruit; but suffice is to say, we are the branches of the grapevine, and our job is to bear fruit!
The Bible also defines for us what that fruit is: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Gal. 5:22-23a NASB). We also know that it is by our fruit that we are known: “So then, you will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:20 NASB)
Getting back to our little verse in the Song of Solomon, we see that these cute little fox cubs are knocking off the grape blossoms. We know from science that without flowers, fruit will not be produced. Thus, if the little foxes are knocking off the blossoms, these vines will never bear fruit, and as such, they will be cut off!
And all because of cute little fox cubs…
So just what are those little foxes?
Jesus teaches us that it is by remaining in Him that we can bear fruit: “Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself but must remain in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.” (John 15:4 NASB). Therefore, these foxes are the things that keep us from remaining in Him!
Notice that the reference isn’t some ferocious dragon stomping through the vineyard. Rather, it is cute little cubs. Thus, we see that it is often the innocent things of life that can keep us from our relationship with Jesus. Life’s little distractions that, in and of themselves, are probably not even considered sins. This can be things like doing the laundry; going to work; spending time with spouses and kids… Just like fox cubs are just plain cute, there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these things. The problem lies when they come between us and our relationship with God.
I try to set aside time with the Lord every day, but lately I’m having to get up earlier and earlier to do so. This isn’t because my schedule is filling up or because I’m spending so more time with God. Rather, it is because I always pick up my phone before I sit down with my tea and my Bible. An innocent cell phone. Such a useful tool, so … NOT … a sin! But when I pick it up, I check my email and my texts and What’sApp messages. When this produces nothing of interest, I start in on the news feeds, and then I check the weather. Did you know how many interesting articles are on the Weather Network app? Before long, an entire hour has gone by, and I haven’t even said, “Good morning, Lord!”
Oops! My cell phone has become a cute fox cub, and I’ve allowed it to get into my vineyard! If I don’t watch it, it will begin knocking off those coveted blossoms that will one day bloom into the fruit of the Spirit that I pray for on a daily basis!
That’s just one little example of so many innocent things can get in the way of our time with the Lord. What Song of Solomon 2:15 is trying to teach us is that we must identify those little distractions and ban them from our time with the Lord! Our time with Jesus must become sacred, not to be disturbed by anything, no matter how innocent. When we do, we will be ensuring that the blossoms that come from remaining in Christ will one day develop into the fruits of the Spirit so that we will be known as children of the most High God!
Father, help me to identify all the cute little foxes that are trying to keep me from my time with You! Help me to have the self-discipline that it requires to keep them out! Thank You, Lord!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart,
Moderator, Associate Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries.
(To access the entire “Unveiling the Song of Solomon” mini-series, click here!)