Catch the Foxes

“My beloved speaks and says to me:
‘Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
    and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
    the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
    the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
    is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs,
    and the vines are in blossom;
    they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
    and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
    in the crannies of the cliff,
let me see your face,
    let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
    and your face is lovely.
Catch the foxes for us,
    the little foxes
that spoil the vineyards,
    for our vineyards are in blossom.’

“My beloved is mine, and I am his.” Song of Solomon 2:10-16a

The bride knows her beloved’s voice and invitation. Enthralled with the One whose love is better than wine, she knows the changing out of a cold heart and the florid refreshment of new life. And she is captivated, attuned, grateful. She belongs, and He belongs to her.

But little foxes prowl. They sneak and sniff and nose their way into loving adoration between bride and groom. In the garden of the Spirit’s delights, they disrupt growth and destroy fragrance and fruitfulness. Beware their cunning, catch them before they spoil what God makes beautiful.

Catch the sly fox of errant teaching before it causes a drift from right thinking. Catch the wily fox of alien affection before it distracts pure devotion and lures away from fidelity into idolatry. Catch the fox of alluring emotional or moral temptation lest it introduce an opening to sin’s deceit. Do not let the fox of shame revert freedom back to the winter of sin’s heaviness, or the fox of regret keep reminding of rain that is over and gone. Catch any fox that lures the face away from gazing at the lovely Christ or the ears from listening to His voice. (Hebrews 2:1; 3:12-13)

Have we tolerated the pesky foxes around us so long that we deem them harmless, entertain their cuteness, and cozy up to their fur? Have we lost sensitivity to their scratch, and grown dull in discerning their sinister wiles? Where are we excusing the presence of any pests that eat away at our time, or intrude upon our clefts of private intercession in the rock, or nibble at our love for Christ?

“Jesus, I am resting, resting
in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
of thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon thee,
as thy beauty fills my soul,
for by thy transforming power,
thou hast made me whole.

Ever lift thy face upon me
as I work and wait for thee;
resting ‘neath thy smile, Lord Jesus,
earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
sunshine of my Father’s face,
keep me ever trusting, resting,
fill me with thy grace.” ~Jean Sophia Pigott (1876)

Beloved Lord, keep me alert and ruthless to catch and remove any fox that ruins our communion and destroys my song and fruitfulness for You.

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