Monday, August 15, 2016

Catching the Foxes: Song of Solomon 2:14-15

"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."

Dear sister, the Lord delights in you. You bring joy to His heart and His desire to have your whole heart is fierce. In this passage the Bridegroom asks for the Bride's vulnerability toward Him, and for her honesty and companionship. She is hiding in the clefts of the rock, but she is silent and distant toward her Bridegroom. He is seeking her out.

There are many reasons that we may close off our hearts to Jesus. We may feel guilty, or we may fear being abandoned by Him as we have been abandoned by so many others. My sister, you can lift your eyes and your voice to the Savior, for He delights in you! To Him, your voice is sweet. Just talking to Him about how you are feeling, what your worries are, what you love and look forward to--these are precious offerings that bless His heart! To Him, your face is lovely. Come to Him without a veil to cover those parts of you that you are embarrassed or offended by, or the parts that weigh heavily on you as you journey through life--remove the veil and turn your face fully to Jesus, my sister. He will cleanse you and He will bind your wounds.

The Bride is asked to catch the foxes that ruin their vineyard. Remember that the vineyard represents your heart, and specifically your relationship with Jesus. What kinds of foxes are trampling your heart, my sister?

Catching foxes is more simple than we might realize at first. The Hebrew word that is translated "little" means insignificant, easily overcome. Our role in catching foxes is simply to call them what they are. For me, I must recognize that what I insisted was "righteous anger" was actually bitterness. What I had been calling "responsible awareness" was actually worry. What I had sheltered as "caution" was actually unbelief. And what I had guarded in my heart as "my needs" were actually selfish demands.

Each of these was a fox in my heart, and once I called them by name they were ensnared by repentance! I asked God what to do with the foxes once they were caught, and He said so clearly, "bring them to Me." You don't have to fix your vineyard, my sister. That's the Bridegroom's job. He does ask you to catch the foxes, though, through repentance.

My sister, there is another level to this beautiful parable, and it is a hard one to receive. We are each a Bride of Christ, but we are also members of The Bride of Christ, who is one person, the Church. He hungers for her righteousness more than we can imagine. He fights for her daily. He will not stop pursuing her whole heart until He has what He is fighting for, a pure and spotless Bride.

The Bride of Christ is plagued by many foxes. Daughters and Sons of the Living God are led astray by false doctrine, by temptations, and discouragement. My sister, do you love Christ enough to fight for His Bride? Will you discard social expectations and polite behavior to chase down the foxes so that the Bride might really lift her face and her voice to the Bridegroom, and receive His life?

The modern church ("little c") has been bought by the worldly lie that in order to love someone, you must let them live as they choose. This is a cancer in the church, my sister. The truth is that among brothers and sisters in Jesus, if I have fallen prey to sin it is your duty to confront and restore me. This is the only way to love me. Love means reaching into my life and calling my fox by its name! It is not love, it is hatred toward me if you continue to fellowship with me and refuse to do me this service.

I know this is hard, sister. But it is the truth. We are all hunters of foxes, in our own hearts and in the Church. May we continually strive to turn our faces and lift our voices to the One who loves us, who laid down His life to have our hearts!
"Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently." Galatians 6:1

"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." 1 John 3:18

"What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?" 1 Corinthians 5:12

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector." Matthew 18:15-17

"Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh."  
Jude 22-23

"For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you. If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:4-11

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." Romans 12:9

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ." Ephesians 4:15

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