Summary: A look at how this elegant love song has an important message for us today. We will focus on three things: the foxes; the vines (the vineyard) and the grapes.
LET’S GO FOX HUNTING!
“Catch us the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender grapes.” Song of Solomon 2:15 (NKJV)
The Song of Solomon is a love song rife with metaphor and allegory. On the face of it, this elegant song depicts the courtship of King Solomon and a young shepherdess. But its greater value lies in two great allegorical pictures.
One picture is of Israel as God’s betrothed bride as further depicted by Hosea. We read: "I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the LORD.” Hosea 2:19-20 (NKJV).
The other picture is of the Church as the bride of Christ as depicted by John.
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” Revelation 21:9-11 (NKJV)
“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17 (NKJV)
It is in the setting of the Church, as the bride of Christ that we draw upon some allegorical depictions in Song of Solomon 2:15. Let’s look at how this elegant love song has an important message for us today. We will focus on three things: the foxes; the vines (the vineyard) and the grapes.
THE VINEYARD SYMBOLIZES THE CHILD OF GOD
The child of God is often depicted in symbolic fashion. Psalm 1 depicts the Christian as “a tree planted by the rivers of water”. Paul and Isaiah portray the child of God employing similar metaphors. We read:
“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:9 (NKJV)
“…That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified." Isaiah 61:3c (NKJV)
THE GRAPES SYMBOLIZE THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT WE MANIFEST
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV).
Solomon did not use the term “tender grapes” by accident. The fruit of the Spirit that we bear is indeed fragile. We must guard it with utmost diligence. The writer of Hebrews instructs us thusly:
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” Hebrews 12:14-15 (NKJV)
IDENTIFYING THE LITTLE FOXES THAT SPOIL THE VINES
We must realize that we are to “catch” the foxes. Solomon did not say “destroy” be-cause we cannot destroy the “big foxes” or the “little foxes”. Sin, and its accom-panying temptation thereof, will not be destroyed until we are “changed into His likeness”. Every day that we live in this flesh we must battle temptation. We do not all have the same “besetting sin” to resist, but Satan defines our weaknesses and tempts us accordingly.
For all Christians, regardless of how humble, dedicated and consecrated they are, to think they are immune from temptation from all sin, only deceive themselves. John wrote: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8 (NKJV). Paul adds: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall”. 1 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV)
As dedicated and consecrated as Paul was he makes it abundantly clear that he had to daily fight sin’s temptations. He wrote: “I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Romans 7:21-24 (NKJV)
While we seek to guard against the “big foxes” that seek to do us harm (the sins we are warned about in the Ten Commandments), let us not ignore the “little foxes” that spoil the vines. We can identify some of these “little foxes” by reading Ephesians 4:31-32 (NKJV).