READ: Song of Songs 2
THINK: There were a number of forestry experts in Minnesota rejoicing at the frigid temperatures that we experienced recently due to the artic blast that hit the area. While the rest of us – especially those of us with small energetic children – grumbled about having to stay inside during the days when windchills reached nearly 40 below, they celebrated because emerald ash borer larvae freeze to death when the temperature drops that low. Their estimation was that approximately 80% of them will not have survived the blast.
It’s fascinating to think that a tiny little bug the size of the emerald ash borer could pose such a threat to something as big as an ash tree. Ash trees are astronomically larger, heavier, and sturdier. But when a bunch of the bugs invade they begin to eat away, bit by bit, at the system that gives life to the tree. From the bottom up, nutrients are cut off until the giant tree dies because of the tiny bugs.
“Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” SoS 2:15
Though is a powerful verse that has some very practical implications for us both within its context – the love relationship between a man and woman – and outside of its context in the rest of the realities of our daily lives. The imagery is pretty compelling: little foxes ruining the vineyards. In Israel, small foxes burrow under the fences and they will dig in the vineyards and ruin the roots of the grapevines. So, the vineyards must be carefully watched.
How often do we see little foxes in our lives? Or emerald ash borers? Small compromises that creep in. Little sins that we excuse because they’re just little sins that aren’t really having a powerful effect on our lives. One by one by one. Little foxes that slip through the fence don’t seem major at the time, but they burrow down and destroy roots. Emerald ash borers begin laying larvae in ash trees and nothing changes immediately. It sometimes takes years. But eventually the tree dies.
Small things. One by one by one. Compromises. Little sins. A big fall begins with a little stumble. If we are willing to tolerate or excuse the little sins in our lives and the small areas where we are constantly pushed to concede space to the world, then the simple and inescapable reality is that our walk with God and our witness for him in this dark world will shrivel up and die.
ASK: What are the little foxes in my life right now that I need to get rid of before they dig up the roots of my faith and my witness?
PRAY: Ask God to help you line up your heart with his and be less tolerant of your sin. Ask him to help you be self-aware of the areas where you have compromised, and ask him to help you stand firm and rid yourself of those little destructive sins.