Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – Song of Songs
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. Song of Songs 2:15
I was originally going to go with the very next verse (verse 16) which states, “My beloved is mine and I am his”, but I thought I’d go with verse fifteen because – once again – this is one of the Top Ten verses that I quote to people – and here’s why:
The Song of Songs, often called ‘The Song of Solomon’, has over the centuries been a rather controversial Book of the Bible for a few reasons, one being that there’s not much said about the Lord within its pages. As a matter of fact, depending on your version of the Bible, the Lord’s name isn’t even mentioned. The one verse that makes an allusion to the Lord’s name is Song of Songs 8:6 (“the very flame of the Lord”, or “a most vehement flame”). Secondly, we’re not even sure if Solomon wrote it, although his name is mentioned a few times. Some believe that, although definitely inspired by the Lord, the author put Solomon’s name in it to give strength to his point about royal love. Thirdly, it’s controversial because it’s a celebration of love, beauty, sex, and marriage, and it gets pretty graphic with its description of the human anatomy.
Over the centuries commentators have viewed this Book as not only a beautiful picture of love within a marriage, but as a picture of the intimacy between Christ and the Church, which the New Testament often speaks of in terms of marriage. Plus, the Jews have often viewed it as a picture of God’s love and Israel, and because it has always been included in the Old Testament canon of Scripture, that has been one of the greatest pieces of proof that it belongs in the Bible.
So, to this verse: “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards”. I won’t go into detail about how this verse is seen in the context of the love song between the groom and his bride, but will immediately go to what the basic meaning is of this line, whether it’s part of a love song or not. The phrase comes from the fact that a vineyard owner might smile at the cute little innocent-looking foxes and not worry about their appearance in his vineyards, when it reality, it’s the little innocuous foxes that will gradually do more damage than the adult foxes because if he let’s them ‘get away’ with their playful activities, they can slowly destroy the entire vineyard.
In life we tend to look at and avoid the “big potential problem makers” that we might face because of the severe damage they might do to us, and that is understandably good advice. But, what this verse reminds us is that it can be the little things in life, the little aggravations – the peccadillos – the apparent insignificant things in life that can really gnaw at us and do more lasting damage than the bigger things. We are so concerned about having a head on collision with a tractor-trailer truck that we forget to check the air in our tires; or we don’t stop and realize that the broken rearview mirror on the passenger side of the car would be the cause of an even more serious car accident if it isn’t repaired. Would you ignore it if you found ‘just a few little termites’ in your woodwork? I don’t think so!
This is especially true in relationships, such as marriage or employee/employer interactions. There may not be any ‘big’ problems in the marriage or with one’s job performance, but it’s the little ‘unnoticed’ or ‘ignored’ annoyances – leaving the cap off of the toothpaste; not throwing away the used sweetener packages in the office coffee room; or when someone publicly prays and they say “Father God” at the beginning and ending of every sentence – that slowly begin to cause your blood pressure to boil until you explode!
So, what can we do to avoid allowing the ‘little foxes from spoiling the grapes’?
- Be aware that the little things – if left unchecked – can potentially cause real trouble.
- Honestly, humbly, and lovingly communicate with the one you’re married to, your children, your boss, your employee, your roommate, your pastor the issues you have about those ‘little foxes’ because you’d be amazed at what an honest conversation can do to bring healing, reconciliation, and love to a potentially soured relationship.
- Don’t pet the sweaty things; I mean, don’t sweat the petty things – and remember, ultimately everything is petty or little. This doesn’t mean that we ignore the ‘little things’, because that’s what this verse is warning us about in the first place, but rather, come to realize that we all have or do little things that might be annoying to others, so if they can’t be easily changed, then learn to accept them – since, in the big scheme of things, they really are little. And to help accept those things…..
- Nothing gets the devil – the Adversary – more excited than seeing people upset in their relationships with one another – so don’t let him win. Work hard at accepting people – imperfections and all – by keeping this next thing in mind….
- If you know Christ, then you have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), the Spirit of Christ living within you (Ephesians 3:17), and your spiritual life is actually Christ’s life (Galatians 2:20). This is important because the Lord can empower us to rise above those things that bother us – not by causing us to deny, ignore, or bury those things – but rather allow us to crucify the misdeeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13) so we can learn, mature, and move forward. And with the Spirit of Christ within us, we can then understand and live by what real agape love – God’s love – means – as seen in my last point….
- If Christ lives within you – if your life is Christ’s life – then His agape love (eternal, unconditional, selfless love) can be matured and made evident in your life. And that love is expressed beautifully through what Paul said to the troubled Corinthian Church in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a,
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….
My oh my, if we just recited those few words everyday and made it a point to live by them, an awful lot of our trouble with people would dissipate, at least from our side of it.
So, watch out for those little foxes, and when you do encounter them, pat them on the head, and then quickly boot them out of your vineyard, and learn how to take advantage of those opportunities instead of letting them eat away at you.