Foxes in our Vineyard
How often do the worries and concerns of this world drown out our relationship with Jesus? We often hear about Martha’s busy, anxious heart as an illustration of what NOT to do, but how quickly do we allow little things to interrupt our time with our beloved Savior? Listen to this beautiful invitation from Song of Solomon, which echoes Jesus’s invitation to His Bride, the Ecclesia.
My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”
“My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.” Song of Solomon 2:14-15
To our beloved Savior, our voice is sweet, and our faces are lovely. He longs to hear our voice, to delight in our love for him as we delight in his love for us. He takes the time to gaze into our eyes, appreciate the beauty of our faces, and listen to the sweetness of our voice as we speak and sing in His presence. He adores us and wants to take us to see his beautiful garden, the garden that he designed and planted for us to explore together. This garden is adorned with lilies and roses, apple trees, fig trees, and grapevines with exquisitely paired floral and fruity perfumes with woody aromas.
The time he desires with us, when he delights to be with us, is also the time we must take to delight in his voice and his presence as well. Charles Austin Miles’s hymn, “I Come to the Garden Alone,” melodiously poeticizes this glorious time together:
I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses
He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing
And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.
The time in the garden with our beloved Jesus when we hear his voice and share his joy is not only beautiful, but it is imperative to the harvest. Jesus also employs the imagery of the garden vineyard in the context of John 15 where he says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”. It is beautiful that in Song of Solomon, the vineyard is referred to as “our vineyard.” The same is true with Jesus’s word picture! Jesus has chosen us to impart life to the fruit of our vine! His life and love pass through us to nurture blossoms until the budding fruit is ready for harvest.
This delightful garden/vineyard will produce a harvest that will be destroyed if we do not cherish and fight for time together with Jesus because “the little foxes (will) ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” The little foxes represent menacing wild animals that interfere with our relationship with our beloved Savior. Those little foxes interrupt or even sever the flow of love and life from our beloved Savior, and on this side of heaven, we must fight to enter the delightful garden with our Savior. If we do not catch the foxes, the result is that the harvest is destroyed when the flowers bloom, long before the fruit sets.
Jesus’ promise to us is worth repeating. “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” Therefore, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Let us be diligent to catch the little foxes and remain in Jesus’s love.
Take a moment to consider what little foxes we need to catch to preserve your time with our beloved Jesus. Sometimes, we allow the worries and concerns of this world, deceitfulness of wealth, or the other things (Mark 4:19) to stop the flow of life and love from our Savior’s heart to ours. Other times, the little foxes can be busyness, laziness, or fatigue, creeping their way in to destroy our vineyard.
Holy Spirit, reveal to us what little foxes we are allowing to sever our precious relationship with sweet Jesus. Give us wisdom and diligence to catch them and remove them from our vineyard. Open our eyes and hearts to fully experience the sheer delight of time in the garden with Jesus so that we can grow and reap the harvest together for the glory of God. Strengthen us to enter Jesus’s rest, to remain in His love, and to delight in His presence today so that we would bear much fruit to the glory of Father God and to prove that we are Jesus’s disciples.
- Danielle Mazzone (a member of the Crown of the Beauty Community)