Little things that kill – Part 1
The Bible talks a lot about little things, many of them with great consequences. We have all heard of the little leaven that leavens the whole lump. Twice, Daniel speaks of the ‘‘little horn’’ (Daniel 7:8; 8:9). Now, we know what great influence that little horn (the antichrist) is going to have on world history and the destiny of man generally.
We speak here of three little things – little foxes, little follies, little fire. All three have one thing in common: their potency to affect the eternal destiny of man lies in their size. They are all little things and so ubiquitous that they can crawl in imperceptibly. It is the little things that injure man the most. As it is in the physical, so it is in the spiritual life. The things that destroy vital spiritual fibre are the little, little things we allow to work in our lives. And these are the things the Spirit of God is warning all believers about. Along with warning on each of these little evils, the Lord gives us guidance on how to handle each of them.
The foxes never go out alone to seek its food, but always in companies of forty or fifty together. They do not go out for their food in the daytime, but wait until it begins to be dark. They eat plants of different kinds; sometimes roots, and at other times fruits. This is the message of our text, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines; for our vines have tender grapes.”
First, the “little foxes” refer to whatever we permit to eat off the roots of grace and the fruits of the Spirit from our lives. These things enter into our lives slowly. “Our vines have tender grapes.” Secondly, the “little foxes” are those things we permit to rob us of the tenderness of heart with which we started the Christian race (Hebrews 3:12-15). They include:
• Little unconfessed sins, or delay in making restitutions
• Little resistance to divine rebuke
• A little root of bitterness that troubles the heart (Hebrews 12: 15)
• A little carnality that leads to eventual backsliding (1 Kings 11:1-10)
• A little fleshly lust that leads to fornication and adultery (1 Peter 2:11)
• Little false doctrine or false teaching, leading to outright heresy (Ezekiel 13:3,4)
• A little worldly association (Hosea 7:8-11)
• A little ill-temper that leads to hatred and murder
• A little covetousness that leads to stealing
• A little self-conceit that leads to arrogance and pride
• Little prayerlessness, leading to self-management and spiritual blindness.
The counsel of the scripture is to “take off, ” remove, separate, flee from the little foxes that destroy the vine. How can this be done? We should carry out a regular character examination on ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:28,31; 2 Corinthians 13:5). We should ensure that we have a regular quiet time (Psalms 5:1–3; 119:105). At the slightest prompting, we should quickly yield to the faithful, but gentle warning of the Holy Spirit, especially when we are becoming careless or carefree, when we are letting our guards down, and trifle with things that we are warned against in the scripture. We should also deliberately make ourselves accountable to a spiritual mentor (Luke 22:31,32). At all times, we must be sober, vigilant and prayerful (1 Peter 5:8; Matthew 26:41). We must also ever become self confident, but ensure that we make regular use of the means of grace, which the Lord has provided for all His children. (2 Peter 3: 18).
Further Reading (King James Version): Song of Solomon 2:15; Ecclesiastes 10:1; James 3:5; Song of Solomon 2:13,15; 1 Corinthians 5:6; Hebrews 12:14-17 with Genesis 25:29-34; 1 Peter 2:11; Ephesians 5:3-5; Proverbs 10:19; Hosea 7:8-11; Ezekiel 13:3,4.
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