The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Monday, October 10, 2016
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"Dealing With The Little Foxes"
Message Summary: Through our study and application of Scripture we are wise to the devil's schemes which will help us stand firm in the faith. We're also consoled in knowing there are many others undergoing the same kinds of testings and yet have power through Christ to resist the enemy and endure the suffering that comes from such trials.
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"Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom" (Song of Solomon 2:15). "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings" (1 Peter 5:8,9).
Stepping outside in the early evening we can hear interesting sounds coming from a small wood lot behind our home; the distinct yelping of foxes. They must really be sensitive, for when I walk back to hear them better there's complete silence. However we rarely see the foxes as they are very reclusive. We have seen the pups from a distance darting about playing on the far edge of the field across from our house and occasionally see one darting though the field. Thankfully, they have done no damage to our yard or garden over the nearly 15 years we have lived in our present location.
But Solomon wrote about "the little foxes that ruin the vineyards." Although foxes can be destructive in a literal sense, in this statement Solomon appears to be figuratively speaking and that is how most commentators take it.
Life is full of fighting off little foxes and other pests of one type or another. But today we want to consider spiritual pests. They tend to come in cycles. There are some pests I dealt with 40 years ago that really aren't much of an issue in my life now, while new pests that I never would have expected have come in to replace them. Pests can be big or small and yet they can all do extensive damage. Wise Solomon spoke of the little foxes that ruin the vineyards.
The pests I am referring to today are the many subtle and not so subtle attempts of the enemy to get us off the right track. They come in so many different forms. Little pests can cause devastating damage, but when caught early and properly dealt with, we will have positive results that are compatible with our spiritual goals.
Today we will all inevitably deal with a variety of "little foxes". The second daily Scripture text has a fitting word: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (I Peter 5:8).
"Be self-controlled and alert." We believe this is a lifelong call. D. Edmond Hiebert in his Expositional Commentary comments on this passage and the specific word translated "self-control" writes, "denotes a condition free from every form of mental and spiritual loss of self-control; it is an attitude of self-discipline that avoids the extremes of the 'reckless irresponsibility of self-indulgence on the one hand, and of religious ecstasy on the other.' It inculcates a calm, steady state of mind that evaluates things correctly, so that it is not thrown off balance by new and fascinating ideas. Such 'level-headedness' is a constant Christian need." Note: This level-headedness is really needed in these times!
"Your enemy the devil". Perhaps Martin Luther had this verse in mind when he wrote, "But still our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe". The Holman New Testament Commentary comments, "Wake up! Pay attention! We are involved in a spiritual battle. You need to know the enemy and his characteristics. You need to understand that we are in a life-and-death battle."
"Prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" The dictionary describes the act of prowling as one who goes about "cruising, moving secretly, undercover, incognito, stealing, lying in an ambush." It's a perfect description of the tactics of our enemy the devil who lies in wait trying to steal that which is of most importance to us. The Spirit through Peter gives us sound advice that will keep us from being tricked, caught off guard, and entrapped by the enemy's sinister schemes.
"Resist him, standing firm in the faith" Warren Wiersbe makes a great point, "Before we can stand up to Satan, we must bow before God." Earlier in his life Peter had resisted the Lord and ended up submitting to Satan!
"Because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." Whatever we are facing others have faced it and are facing it!
Through our study and application of Scripture we are wise to the devil's schemes which will help us stand firm in the faith. We can also be consoled in knowing there are many others undergoing the same kinds of testings and yet have power through Christ to resist the enemy and endure the suffering that comes from such trials.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, through the knowledge of Your Scriptures, through the application of its truths, and through the power of Your Holy Spirit we can resist the enemy of our souls. When our faith is tested, which is of greater worth than gold, it is done so to test that our faith is genuine. Since faith that is not tested is faith that cannot be trusted, help us to remember that when the enemy is persistently prowling, You are inviting us to prove our faith to be genuine which will help fortify us for future testings and serve as a witness to others that we are who we claim to be, people of faith. Help us also to remember that not only are we undergoing trial, but believers all throughout the world are undergoing the same sufferings or far worse. We want to resist the devil, standing firm in the faith, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance and empathy for others who suffer. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Glorious Freedom" Video Amen Quartet
What is the meaning of the foxes in Song of Solomon 2:15? From gotquestions.org
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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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