Be Careful of the Little Foxes

by Dr. Ken Matto

(Song 2:15 KJV) Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

One of the most detrimental things which can happen to a vineyard or to any planted field is when animals enter the field and begin to nibble and eat the product. In the above verse we read that the foxes which spoil the vineyard. The word “spoil” in the Hebrew carries with it the meaning of “ruining.” If a farmer plants a field of corn and then gets invaded by field mice, that field will become a ruin. However, a farmer does have a weapon against the field mouse and that is a corn snake. A corn snake will live within the corn field and whenever it spots a mouse, it will devour it and one more threat is eliminated.

This verse gives us good insight into another place which is threatened by the little foxes and that is the local church. A great roaring lion does not have to walk into a church with a desire to destroy it. The only thing needed to begin to destroy any assembly is a small infection of false teachings or the acceptance of anything of anti-biblical nature. Satan knows that if someone comes into the assembly and brings a rank heresy, it will be thrown out very quickly but the way to destroy an assembly is by causing it to drift very slowly.

One of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible is Isaiah 1:18. (Isa 1:18 KJV) Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Many interpret this to mean that if we reason with God and realize our sin and sinful paths, then God will take our crimson sin and turn them as white as snow. This verse is not teaching that. When leprosy is in its infant stages, it starts out as red spots and dots and then when it is fully spread it turns the skin white and leprosy also disallows much feeling. A leper can be burning themselves and not know it because of lack of feeling in the affected parts. Isaiah 1:18 is warning Judah and us that if we do not cut off the little sins in our lives, then the sin infection will develop and spread just as the disease of leprosy spreads in a human body.

The reason this verse is not speaking of sin abatement is because the Bible in many places teach us that when a person becomes a saved, God has removed our sins. He did not just cover our sins.

(Psa 103:12 KJV) As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

(Col 2:13-14 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; {14} Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

The warning to us is that the little foxes of sin which seem so innocuous, if left unchecked, will grow into something which will cause much consternation later on in life. When we look at one of the effects of leprosy, which is the lack of feeling in the affected areas, we can make an association with our own lives and churches. If we continue to accept false teachings and practices, eventually we will get to the point of lacking discernment in the area of sin identification. Since we will have lack of discernment, we will eventually begin to fight against the truth and fight for the false teachings. This is how many churches fall. A little compromise here, and one there, and eventually the sin foxes are running all over the church.

I have yet to find in the Bible anywhere where God declares that Christians are to compromise with Satan. Many Christians rationalize, theorize, and just plain ignore the warnings of Scripture, and then when their lives fall apart, they wonder why, or when the church degenerates into an ungodly assembly, they wonder where they went wrong. That’s easy, they rejected the warnings of Scripture and the warnings of some Christians who take a chance of being thrown out of the church for bringing truth.

Christians who stand on the word of God and not the word of the latest fad by some pop theologian are always in danger of excommunication. I have seen this and I have experienced it. It seems that whoever brings the false teachings into the church, receives the rewards and the ones who bring the truth of the Scriptures are always chided or considered troublemakers. Believe me, those Christians and churches who exalt the word of man over the word of God will find that God will trouble their house, and ten times worse. I have not found anything in Scripture where we are to do what we want and then expect God to bless it. God does not bless sin nor will He bless what is not according to His Word or will. It is the old argument, the sovereignty of God or the sovereignty of man. Whose side are you on?  (5/14/04)