In some verses of the King James Version, Reins is interpreted as kidneys.
Why? What do the kidneys do that relate to reins?
I know a little bit more about the kidneys now that I have 3. This should make me roughly 33% more knowledgeable than those poor souls who only have two :)
KIDNEYS AND THE REINS
Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
- Psalm 7:9 (Strong’s H3629 Kidneys)
I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.
- Psalm 16:7 (Strong’s H3629 Kidneys)
Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.
- Psalm 26:2 (Strong’s H3629 Kidneys)
Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
- Psalm 73:21 (Strong’s H3629 Kidneys)
And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
- Rev 2:23 (Church at Thyatira) (Strong’s G3510 Kidneys)
We see that in both the Old and New Testaments, references to Reins seem very important to our spiritual lives and our hearts. The Lord connects the reins and heart together.
Reins, as we see on a horse and carriage, for instance, are the regulators of direction and influence. They regulate the pace at which the vehicle travels, the direction in which it is traveling, that is, the one the driver wants to take and not the horse itself. Also, they regulate the diverting of obstructions and starting and stopping at various destinations.
Reins also control the horse from galloping one minute, then cantering the next, then walking the next, then galloping again. It regulates the horse from being all over the place; from not knowing what the driver wants and creating its own agenda, to being brought inside the boundaries of the driver’s control for its most efficient use.
The kidneys' job is to filter our blood. They remove wastes and control fluid balance around the body. Several times per day all of the blood in our bodies passes through these small organs. Blood enters into the kidneys, then the waste products get removed. The newly filtered blood returns back into the body as our waste products turn into urine.
Kidneys in the body also regulate some chemicals that have a profound impact on our heart, and I have had trouble with some of these. With my kidneys being in a state of decline over the past several years, I have experienced spikes and troughs in both Potassium and Phosphorus. My kidneys weren’t regulating. In fact, at one point, I was admitted to Emergency Department at the Royal Melbourne Hospital with Potassium at 7.2, a level which can stop the heart.
Too much Potassium puts the heart into an arrhythmic state; a state where it doesn’t know what it is doing, and has lost its way. It has lost its rhythm and the beat is abnormal.
Spiritually, this means we are out of control. We need to be beating consistently every day. Every day the seat of the Spirit, the heart, needs to maintain its regularity. It is only that regularity that allows circulation of the blood in a timely manner around the body, so the blood can to do the work it is created to do.
Too little Phosphorus, on the other hand, increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks. Again, all to do with the kidneys, the blood and the heart. We literally need it to survive, such is its importance to our systems.
The Need For Regulating/Regulation
Moving the regulating of chemicals aside for a minute and looking at the topic of Law, we have Regulations; those elements that govern society.
All systems require regulating, as it stops the spikes and troughs and puts things in a pre-set order. God creates that order, whether in our bodies or societies, and the systems follow it if they are working well. This is where we get the systems of righteousness and holiness as the orders which regulate society. When we bypass these we end up with spikes, troughs and societal breakdowns, as we see in so many societies on earth, including our own.
The heart is also the seat of our emotions.
Some Christians are regulated by their emotions, which is where we get the scripture, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:9-10.
By basing our spiritual life on how we are emotionally at any one time, we leave our life up to a scattergun approach, which finds us about as controlled as a mad person and quite useless for long term ministry. Ministry requires stability.
Emotions make us the type of people who want to jump over the wall instead of entering the right way by the Strait Gate. We have no order because we fly by the seat of our pants. How we feel at the time is our system.
Why does the Lord try the reins and also the hearts? (Ps 7:9)
To see if the reins are being used, and to see if the heart is regulated by them, working to an order and not out of sync doing what it pleases - arrhythmic.
If we do not use our reins, we lack control of our spirit, and we lack order in our lives. All systems need order. Our solar and planetary system has order, our environmental system has order, good societies have order, and all of the organ systems in our bodies have order.
The Lord’s creations all have order, and they work according to His plan. However, most systems require our input. For our bodily systems we need to be found consuming the right food and drink to maintain that order and, when we don’t, we find our order gets rearranged and breaks down, requiring medical intervention. The environmental system sees us considering what and how we manufacture, how we preserve what the Lord has given us, how we dispose of refuse, and how sustainable are all of our practices.
Another of those is our spiritual system which is meant to maintain order in our spiritual lives. The Bible says, it is harder to rule our spirit than to overthrow a great city (Proverbs 16:32). Part of that rule comes through the use of the reins, so that our spiritual system works in the order created by God and led so well by Christ here on earth.
Christ used His reins. When he needed prayer, the reins took him aside from the multitude to pray. At that time, he was not found to be healing, preaching or teaching, or doing anything else; he was praying. His body wasn't ruling his spirit, doing what it felt like at the time. His spirit ruled his body. He used the system he was given and cultivated it so it would work accordingly, maturing him into the Christ he was meant to be.
I am not advocating that the spiritual life requires constant regulation, as we need to be responsive to the Holy Spirit, but we can often use that reason as a veil or smokescreen to reject any control measures and remain an uncontrolled Christian. We all require the input of the reins, as is clear in scripture.
Food vs Waste
The kidneys also regulate waste products, to ensure certain wastes are removed from the blood and bodily cells.
Jesus said in Matthew 15:11, "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
If we take that a step sideways, we find it also applies to waste products. What goes into a person gets separated in the body to either food or waste. Waste, such as creatinine, becomes a blood pollutant if not excreted from the body, and my original kidneys had trouble reducing this as they deteriorated.
Likewise, my new kidney is struggling with the disposal of creatinine until it wakes up and starts working as it should. So my levels are being consistently monitored through blood tests three times per week.
Spiritually speaking, we cannot afford to pollute the precious blood that saves us, and have it become clogged with waste because our reins are not influencing properly, i.e. not discerning right from wrong, clean from unclean, righteousness from unrighteousness, and the holy from the profane. These are the spiritual blood tests.
Ezekiel 44:23 states in relation to one of the main roles of the priesthood (and we mustn't forget, we are the New Testament priesthood), “And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” Which means we must know them intimately ourselves.
I think this is a contemporary issue with Christianity. If a believer’s reins cannot discern the difference between what is food and what is waste, the waste is not excreted from the body, and the body then becomes defiled. On a larger scale, so does the Church, as in the case of Thyatira.
James 5:16 states, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person availeth much.” However, if we are not discerning the difference between spiritual food and spiritual waste requiring constant removal, then the dirt we pick up on our daily journey is not washed out daily, as it is meant to be. It remains in the body and becomes the blood pollutant challenging our systems within. If we keep that waste in the body, we are not that righteous person, and our prayers are limited.
I was on dialysis for only three months; a short apprenticeship. Considering my kidneys weren’t filtering well near the end, the machine I was on for nine hours each night did the filtering, to ensure the waste products were cleared, otherwise I would be dead by pollution.
We need the kidneys to affect the workings of our heart, ensuring it does not enter an arrhythmic state or cause the body to break down under the influence of waste.
Likewise, We need control over our emotions, thoughts and irrational actions, to ensure we can fulfil our ministries and vision.
When the Lord tries our reins and hearts, He is looking to see they are synchronised according to His purpose and set design, so we can rule our spirits.
Paul said, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”. (Philippians 3:14) He could only complete that with the use of the reins.
When he said, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” (2 Timothy 4:7) His reins were the regulators of that success!