The Little Foxes
"Seize the foxes, the little foxes that destroy and spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards have tender blossoms." (Song of Solomon 2:15)
They say it is hard to out-fox a fox...these very cunning and sly animals are very smart. I have seen several of them here in Alaska. Silver foxes, red ones, trotting across open fields and always looking like they own the place. I am certain they are well aware of my presence and have judged the distance between us accordingly before moving an inch.
I read the following on the Internet:
"Foxes are common in the Middle East where at least three different species occur. One species is so secretive that its presence in Israel was discovered only a few years ago! These sly creatures are usually nocturnal in their behavior. In parts of Galilee it is possible to hear them at night--their haunting howls coming from the forests and vineyards. Foxes are slight animals about the size of a small dog. Their agility is mentioned in Nehemiah 3 where Tobiah with sarcasm suggests that the lightest animal would break down the wall. They can climb up even the smallest vines and are still considered a menace in vineyards by modern farmers."
Jesus told his disciples, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5) Yet we see that just as the little foxes can spoil the vine by destroying the blossoms that bring forth the fruit, we have an enemy who is just as sly and cunning as any fox, and unless we are on guard and vigilant, he will steal and destroy from us in just the same manner. I am speaking of the devil.
I reasoned about all of this one day. I knew that I truly was "abiding in the vine" with the Lord, and that He promised that I would bring forth fruit. Yet I found out I was not bringing forth fruit in every circumstance!
It happened to my pansies. Such beautiful plants...gorgeous colors! But one day I discovered them in a pitiful shape; aphids were sucking the life out of them! Those tiny, colorless bugs that breed like rabbits! Then I read that aphids are born pregnant!! Wow! Imagine the implications of that! They multiply like algae on my fishpond! And what would happen if I did not inspect those pansies on a regular basis? You know. All my efforts--my constant loving care, my delight and appreciation for their beauty was to no avail...."little foxes" had spoiled my vine! So I reached for the aphid spray!
Fruit is not just what we peel and eat off some tree. It is the result of everything we do. God intends that we prosper...that we bring forth MUCH fruit. But the point is...without Him, we cannot. If our aphid spray bottle is missing or we decided not to use it, we've lost the battle. "Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it," for surely the little foxes will be spying out the land to destroy every blossom before it can ripen.
Ironically, we can entertain our own "little foxes."
"Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it." (Lam 5:18)
I am thinking of an acquaintance that is in a terrible situation. Having had a stroke, he lies in a ward in a rehabilitation hospital with a trachea stuck in his throat--can't talk, and with several devices attached to his body to help him urinate and get rid of his waste. He is only in his 50's. Now he bitterly accuses God: "If God is so powerful and is a God of love, why doesn't He heal me?" he asks. But this is a man who has never served God, nor ever really wanted to. He doesn't realize that in his rejection of God, he has no attachment to the vine and he himself is destroying his chances of recovery.
But even if we do have such an attachment, we can allow those little foxes to have a real romp among our vine to destroy all the blossoms and potential fruit God had purposed for us. The Word of God tells us that the devil comes to kill and to destroy--we do have an enemy! But we can fail to avail ourselves of the only solution any of us have for the aphids of life: the realization that without Him we can do nothing. It is only through Him we have power over all the works of the devil.
How many times have I laid in a hospital bed, too sick to really even think. Hurting, in pain. The prognosis not good. Is it time for me to die? And who cares anyway? At that point, I had a decision to make. I could lay there and watch the little foxes having their way in my vineyard, or I could call for the Owner of the vineyard to come and defend the vine blossoms being destroyed by this crafty invader! It was up to me to call upon Him! To sound the alarm! Yes, God already knows we're having difficulties and problems and the battle of the mind...but He has chosen to only work through a communication line we are required to use: prayer! He will not violate man's free will to choose Him or reject Him.
I know about these battles--having had cancer (now for the forth time!). Each trial was no picnic...hair dropping out, weakness, sick to my stomach; only to make it through one Cape Horn and a Cape of Good Hope waiting for me to arrive so I could experience the frightful storms all over again. I have read some of the journals of those sea captains who made it through those passages---and each acknowledged God as the One they called upon and who delivered them. And He will deliver me again!
We must look carefully at the blossoms on our vine! Are they sickly? are they dropping off before making fruit? Who will we accuse? The foxes responsible? We have but to call upon the owner of the vineyard who will send forth his servants to run them away.
But the real culprit is us.
Our pride can keep us from calling upon Him. To do that is humbling...it means we must acknowledge Him as greater than ourselves and that without Him we are helpless. Perhaps it is our unbelief that He would do anything about our prayers...we doubt His love and His power to save. Maybe our unconfessed sins will not allow us to face Him. It is even possible we go through the Capes and give up while riding out the storm. We jump overboard while losing hope.
I could have allowed my pansies to just go ahead and die, reasoned that the aphid spray would not work. But I reached for the bottle instead. Now they are as healthy as ever.
Friend, it might not be health that is your blossom being trampled. Perhaps it is a failed marriage being ground into the dirt, or a tragedy cutting off your expected joy. God reminds us that if we call upon Him, He will answer.
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things,
which thou knowest not." (Jeremiah 33:2)
It really is....as simple as that! Why not give it a try?
MARY E. ADAMS