Catch The Little Foxes

Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.””  Song of Solomon 2:15

Foxes are mainly nocturnal animals.  They have very keen senses of hearing and smell.  They stalk their prey with stealth and patience.  They  are solitary hunters in that they do not gather in packs as wolves and dogs.  They generally eat rodents, insets, worms, fruit, birds, eggs, and other small animals.  60% of their diet consists of rabbits and mice.  They are very fast and capture their prey by outrunning them.  They use their large, bushy tail for balance when hunting.  They are extremely possessive of their food and will not share it with others.

In places of vineyards, foxes are common.  When the grapes are ripe for harvest, the fox can damage the crop in two ways.  One, they nibble on the low hanging grapes and so disturb the cluster and ruin it.  Two, they can climb on the trees and vines and so they ruin both the trunks and grapes in this way also.  So, there are little foxes that can come in and destroy portions of a vineyard if the owner of the vineyard is unsuspecting and does not have a plan in place to keep them out.

Grapevines are listed more than any other plant in the entire Bible.  It was essential during Bible times, so it was used as a very common reference often that was to be easily understood.  Symbolically, a fruitful vine referred to the obedient Israel, while wild grapes or an empty vine spoke of Israel’s disobedience (Jer 2:21).

Cultivating and maintaining a vineyard is hard work that takes much effort.  You can’t just sit by and hope it grows and produces fruit.  Isaiah 5:1-8 records part of the process.  Typically grown on a hill, a vineyard needed to be cleared of many stones which are common in Israel. Only then could vines be planted. A wall or hedge built around the vineyard, along with a watch tower, kept thieves at bay, and helped to keep out foxes. The plant required pruning in order to bear fruit (John 15:1-2).

The grapevine is listed in Deuteronomy 8:8 as one of the seven foods in the good land that God was giving to the nation of Israel. It was a land where the grapes grew in large clusters as reported by the expedition of spies sent into Canaan (Num 13:23). The grape clusters were so large that they carried them on a stick between two men. This gift from God was meant to be enjoyed and men were not to go to war until they had tasted of their own grape harvest according to Deuteronomy 20:6.

In the New Testament, we see that Jesus uses the analogy of the vineyard when He is describing Himself & the Father:

““I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:1-5

So, we can see that symbolically, grapes represent the fruit that we produce in our lives.  The fruit can be either good fruit when we are in a fruitful relationship with Jesus, the vine, in that our motives are His motives and we are seeking to do His will and staying pure.  Or, the fruit can be bad when we are not truly connected to the vine and doing our own thing and obeying our own truth.  We can also see that little foxes can come in and destroy our fruit, so we need to pay attention to the little foxes who wish to steal our good fruit.  These little foxes may be sins that are creeping in that try to draw us off of the vine.  We can see this parallel in Jesus’ parable of the sower.  The foxes are the evil one who attempts to rip us off from the vine.

18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.[b] 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”  Matthew 13:18-23

Father, We ask that you catch the little foxes in our lives and keep them outside of the vineyard.  Protect us from their destruction and keep us wholly connected to your life giving vine.  Thank you for the promise that if we remain in You by seeking you daily that you will also remain in us.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  John 15:4

21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[a] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  Ephesians 4:21-22