Song of Songs 2:15 – Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. (NIV)
I am usually a peaceful man who enjoys the wildlife — birds, squirrels, and the like — which frequent our yard. Last Saturday, however, I was heard to say, "I would like to shoot that rabbit!"
The problem was that I went looking for tulips in our garden. Having added last year two dozen new bulbs to the previous dozen or so that graced our yard, I was looking forward to a bright swath of colour in both the front and back flower beds next to our house. To my dismay, however, I found only a baker's dozen of flowers scattered in the front bed, and one single, solitary tulip in the whole of the backyard.
When I lamented to my wife, "Where are our tulips?" I was quickly informed, "Oh, the bunny rabbit ate them!" Now, I do not begrudge the neighbourhood rabbits their share of green food, but I do not willingly offer them my finest fresh tulips! Hence my comment to the effect, "Down with the rabbit!" At the very least, there is a multitude of leafy, green, flowering weeds which he would be welcome to chew to his heart's content — but not my tulips.
Hence, what caught my attention in my daily reading this morning was the admonition to catch the foxes that ruin our vineyards that are in bloom.
In the Song of Songs, Solomon writes a poem depicting love. Offering vivid descriptions of a lover and his beloved delighting in each other, the Song of Songs has been understood and interpreted as an allegory describing the love between Christ and his beloved Church.
To catch the foxes that ruin the vineyard is important to ensure the health and beauty of the garden in which the lovers live and rejoice together. Solomon is telling us that love in action works decisively to remove what is harmful, in order to promote the health of our relationship with our Lord and Saviour.
In the same way, a shepherd is called to watch out for and act against anything which might invade or harm or destroy the flock of God. God also calls all of us to be on the alert against the devices of Satan, who seeks to tempt, sidetrack, and ruin our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Now, I might not shoot the rabbit — but if I am to promote the health and beauty of the garden, I had better plug the hole in the lattice work under the back porch which is an attractive hiding spot — and fill in the hollow under the gate to prevent the rabbit from gaining entrance.
Prayer: Lord, enable us by Your grace to watch for things that seek to destroy Your flock. We pray for faithfulness to act against the dangers and address them effectively. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.