Catch us the foxes,
The little foxes that spoil the vines,
For our vines have tender grapes.
This is a very widely applicable passage of scripture. When we are tending a vineyard, whatever it may be, there will be small foxes who would like to spoil it. From what I understand, sometimes the foxes would get into a vineyard and want to eat the grapes, but to get at them they would have to gnaw the vine down. So in pursuit of some little treat they would destroy a great thing. Something that could have born fruit for years, and matured into fine wines is sacrificed for a fleeting desire.
Small foxes can be little sins, little annoyances, little resentments, petty worry, or little self importance. The one thing that is always the case is that the small foxes are small. They do not look like they would do damage. There does not appear to be any harm in letting them into the vineyard. A small fox is a cute little thing that can tear down all of your vines.
A small fox might be a little envy of someone else’s home. It might be a little angry that your husband forgot your anniversary. It might be a little annoyance at what your children need. It might be a little mistake, a little unconfessed sin. It might be a little bickering between your children. It might be letting the fact that you feel fat or unattractive get in the way of worship, of enjoying a wedding, or of making love to your husband.
All of these things do damage exponentially. When sin is in the vineyard, the only thing it will do is destroy. Small foxes do not curl up and sleep, they tear down. They want some little reward – and they do not care what is being sacrificed for it.
Proverbs 14:1 says “Every wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.”
The foolish woman allows small foxes in her vineyard. She does not protect the vines, but rather indulges the sin. And this is one of the many ways that she can tear down her own house. She can let small sin destroy the harvest in future years.
Foxes are well known for being sneaky. They come from all different routes so no one can follow them home. They are sly. They are conniving. They are the perfect picture of sin and the human heart. Keeping them out is something that requires a lot of diligence – it requires a lot of depending on God to reveal them, and to give you the strength to kick them back out.
Someone somewhere said that you cannot keep the birds of temptation from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair. And this is true of the small foxes too. You cannot keep them from sneaking in sometimes, but by God’s grace you can keep them from tearing down your vines.