Quick! Catch all the little foxes before they vineyard of your love, for the grapevines are all in blossom.
-The Young Women of Jerusalem, Solomon's Song of Songs 2:15
I found myself squirming a bit as I read these words these words this morning. You see, it was not even 8 a.m. and I had already allowed a little fox to come and eat in the vineyard. Now, I was fully aware that foxes have no business being in the vineyard. In fact, there is even a gate to keep them out. The problem is, a gate doesn't keep someone or something out if you insist on being "thoughtful" enough to open it! Sigh...
It happened quickly. It usually does. First of all, I had no business hanging around the gate. Instead I should have been meeting with the Keeper of the Vineyard at that very moment. That is always the best way to start out the day but I delayed that meeting a bit and wandered down to the gate instead.
There was the fox, waiting for me. Now when I was a young child, I had never seen a fox before. My only experience with foxes came through fairy tales and fables. Now while it is true there were pictures, I still thought of foxes as giant, vicious creatures who could gobble up little girls in one great big gulp. In reality they are typically less than two feet tall and weigh less than 30 pounds. While that could still be menacing to a small child, it is not very menacing to an adult.
I read an article just a few minutes ago about urban foxes in the UK. It seems like from the comments made that most city-dwellers believe the fox to be a friendly, adorable and cuddly little creature. Interspersed amongst those comments were stern warnings from country folk warning the city-folk to not be deceived. Beneath the exterior of that cute and cuddly creature beats the heart of a viscious killer who can turn on you without warning with the intend to maim and destroy.
Though he certainly did not say so, the "fox" I encountered was extremely hungry. The fox looked at me with it's imploring bright eyes. Would I open the gate and let it in? Oh, he looked so cute... so sweet so of course I let him in.
The moment the gate was opened, the fox headed straight for it's favorite food, "The Fruit of The Spirit". It began to devour "patience" and as it did, I acted in haste. From there it began to eat away a gentleness and sharp words emerged. Uh-oh... and what was I doing? Why, I was far too busy admiring that fine-looking fox to pay any attention to what he was actually doing!
That's when I became aware of the "Caretaker of the Vineyard" standing next to me. He asked me what I was doing and... sigh. First He disposed of the fox. Foxes do not belong in the vineyard of my heart. Then He had a little chat with me. He didn't ask me why I opened the gate. He asked me where I had been. Why had I been down at the gate instead of meeting with Him?
I hung my head for I realized that was the problem. If I had been met with Him instead of being down at the gate, the fox would have been unable to get in and I would still have the fruit of patience and gentleness. Instead, the fox spoiled that fruit... and I, in turn delivered that rotten fruit to someone else as well. How I wished I would have done what I should have been doing and NEVER let that little fox in.
I have seen that fox before, you know. He is familiar to me. I suspect you have some familiar foxes lurking about outside your heart as well. They are just waiting for you to open the gate and let them in so they can wreck havoc in your vineyard.
We cannot change what has happened. However, God is the God of Restoration. We can ask Him to restore that which has been stolen and devoured by the enemy. We can erect warning signs by the gate which say, "DO NOT OPEN!" Then, instead of strolling down to the gate first thing in the morning, we can meet with God instead so that we will be fully and adequately equiped to meet the day.
We must always remember it's the little foxes that spoil the vine.
Foxes are beautiful creatures. If you saw one in its natural habitat playing with its cubs around the fox hole on a hill in the side of a field it is a sight to behold. But they are fast and quite cunning. Do you know that a fox will walk around a hen coup day after day waiting on a small hole to get big enough to crawl into. Then he will pick off one hen at a time. He can if he chooses carry them off so carefully that you are not aware the fox has been there at all. Then there are the times he jumps in all guns blazing and leaves a destructive mess of feathers, blood and bone behind.
In both ways his attack has the same effect... dead hens. he is deadly when he is underestimated. As are those whom we allow to make us doubt our salvation, doubt our ability or doubt our standing before God.
ya know I almost knocked down a fox this week. He ran straight into my path on the road.
You know, after I wrote this blog, this folk song came to mind and I found this video of it on YouTube. I think it is very fitting for this blog.