Fight the Little Foxes that Spoil the Vine
- Friday, July 13, 2007
“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines.” (Song of Solomon 2:15)
In Greenville, South Carolina, my elderly neighbor owned a lovely picket fence. The fence had a gorgeous ivy vine growing down its entire length. Although the vine grew from one main stalk, at approximately every other post, it had been carefully trained back into the ground by my neighbor.
One day my dog tunneled under that fence. He damaged the vine by his digging. A few days later I was shocked to see an entire section of the vine withered on the fence. I apologized to my neighbor. He kindly forgave us. Although he was very understanding, my wife and I felt terrible about the damage because it was a very long time before the vine reclaimed its beauty.
Every time I read Song of Solomon 2:15 (“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines”), I am reminded of that huge vine and its little destroyer.
The lesson is, of course, that little, seemingly insignificant things can cause grossly disproportionate damage. We must guard ourselves against little foxes that do great harm to a Christian’s life.
A Little Laziness
“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:10, 11)
Laziness spoils the vine of industry and success. Ultimately, the lazy person will come to poverty. A little laziness grows bigger. The lazy person gets even lazier! This verse teaches that a little sleep-a nap-becomes a little slumber, and a little slumber becomes deep, almost catatonic, sleep.
Wake up! Get out of bed! Get busy-before it’s too late! You’ll be too poor to own a place or even a bed. Chase the little fox of laziness from your tender vines, or you’ll have no vines, no grapes, and no profit.
A Little Folly
“Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1)
A person who has a reputation for wisdom and honor can destroy that reputation by one off-color joke, one foolish deed, or one ungodly attitude. A moment’s mischief by one little fox of folly can outlast years and years of hard work.
One’s entire reputation can be destroyed overnight. Guard that vine. Do whatever it takes to keep the little foxes from your precious vine of reputation. It is easier to maintain a good reputation than to try to restore a sullied one.
“Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30)
Not only is it impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6), but the Lord is displeased by our little faith. And yet, the same Lord who is dismayed at our little faith is also the one who said that mustard-seed-sized faith can move mountains.
It seems that His displeasure is not so much with the size of our faith, but with the fact that we do not take advantage of those opportunities to increase our faith that His grace supplies. Faith comes by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17). Do you read God’s Word? Prayer can build us up in our faith (Jude 20). Do you pray?
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