How well do you obey God and respond to His commands? David wanted to know about himself. “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me, try my reins and my heart” (Ps. 26:2).
Would you say that to God? Are you ready for God to try your reins, your obedience to His direct commands? Perhaps you should examine yourself first. God’s admonition is “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates” (II Cor. 13:5)?
A few simple questions with honest answers can help you know how well you would respond to the reins of God’s hands. Answer the following questions with complete honesty.
How do you keep the Sabbath? Are you finished with your work prior to sundown Friday? Do you study each Sabbath and pray?
God gives us a direct command and admonition: “If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Eternal, honourable; and shalt honour Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words; then shalt thou delight thyself in the Eternal; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Eternal hath spoken it” (Isa. 58:13-14).
How about tithing? Are you faithful with God’s money? Are you diligent with generous offerings? Do you save the second tithe faithfully? Are you diligently applying God’s ways of child rearing in your home? God commands that children be taught and disciplined. How well do you do it?
Do you gossip? God forbids it and condemns the person who goes about as a talebearer. How many times have you realized that God condemns gossip and yet because you wanted your own way turned from God’s direction?
Wives, are you obedient to your husband’s as God commands? Or do you fail to respond to the reins of government within your own home? Husbands, do you love your wives? Do you show them this love? Are you thoughtful, kind, and considerate of them? This is God’s command to you. How well do you respond to it?
Now that you have examined yourself, what are your findings? Do you find that you really are responsive to God’s commands?
If you were a horse under the reins of a rider how well would you respond?
If you ever go to a rodeo, you will see various contests; one contest is with speed and proper maneuvers. The horses had to race out, go around three barrels and then race back across the finish line. They timed the horses and the fastest won. However, a five-second penalty was given to each horse that knocked over a barrel.
The horses streaked out of the gate; zipped around the barrels and back to the finish line. But in haste, some knocked over the barrels. Each horse obeyed its master, went around the barrels, but some knocked a barrel over in the process. This cost the contestant five seconds.
Are you like these horses? Maybe you obey, but in the process do you knock over barrels? That is, you are not careful how you obey. You don’t apply your mind. For example: you tithe. But are you diligent about sending the tithe in immediately? Does the envelop lie on a table for days because you forgot to mail it?
David not only asked God to try his reins, but he included “and my heart.” The reins are two long leather straps that attach to either side of the bit forming part of the bridle. These reins give control to the rider. They are his means of indicating commands to the horse.
However, the heart is in reference to the basic attitude. David asked God not only to try his reins, how well he obeyed, but also to try his heart.
How’s your heart? Are you under God’s government willingly? God not only wants you to obey physically but also wants your devotion along with it. Today we say a person has “a good attitude” when he not only obeys God’s commandments but also does it willingly, and cheerfully!
It is a beautiful sight to see a horse respond gracefully to his rider’s wishes. Alert every second for its rider’s direction, the horse not only is submissive under the reins but his heart also is fully in accord with his master’s. And the horse receives the blessings! His master combs and brushes him. He is well fed and watered. He is cared for. His master is concerned about all cuts and bruises. The horse is actually happier when under the hand and authority of his master!
As a horse with a master draws closer with constant contact, so we draw closer to God when we have more fellowship and contact with Him. God’s object is for us to become one with Him, a part of His very family!
David said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts” (Ps. 139:23). David wanted to be closer to God. He wanted to be one with God.
David had such a marvelous attitude that he wanted God to test him to see if he obeyed well enough. He also wanted God to look on his heart to see if he had the proper attitude and respect for God he should. Few of us do that enough.
But God will test and try you whether or not you ask Him! Notice: “O let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end: but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins” (Ps. 7:9). God will try the reins of His people. He also looks on the heart to see what your attitude is.
Notice Jeremiah 11:20. “But, O Lord of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them for unto thee have I revealed my cause.”
The Bible refers to God as the One who “tries the reins and the heart.” This is part of God’s nature. This is part of God’s overall plan and duty. God is constantly searching the hearts of His people.
God says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Man’s heart, his nature is deceitful above all else. Who can really check this heart? Who can know whether it will be willing to do God’s commands?
God gives the answer. “I the Eternal search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doing” (Jer. 17:9-10).
Judgment now is on true Christians. God is searching their hearts to see if they have the right attitude and a willing spirit and love for the Maker. God also tries the reins to test them in their obedience. What will God find out about you? If you were a horse would you stop when God said, “Whoa”? Would you go and go fast when God gave the word? Will you go straight not turning right or left except by direct command? And how long does it take you to obey? God is finding out all these things about us!
The Bible pictures Jesus Christ symbolically riding a horse at His coming. God is the One who created horses. God, therefore, knows more about how horses act and their nature than anyone else. God’s Word tells us that we put bits in horses’ mouths to make them obey.
Furthermore, God knows how to handle a rebellious horse. “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back” (Prov. 26:3). Ask yourself: “Does God have to beat me to make me mind?”
God would rather the fool “wise up.” God prefers not to have to use the whip or the rod for the fool’s back. But God constantly is searching the hearts and minds of His people. He punishes every son that He receives and chastises everyone He loves. He does it for their good. He does it that they may come to a right and wholesome attitude for their own good, for their own happiness for their own welfare!
God’s Word has a lot to say about horses. He tells how to handle them, a little of their nature and usefulness. There are people on earth today that nearly worship this magnificent creature of God. A horse is so stately, and those who appreciate a beautiful animal certainly enjoy looking at horses.
But God’s purpose is not with horses. God uses the analogy of a horse and his master that we may see a little clearer our duties and relationship to God.
But here’s what God says: “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.”
God does not want dumb, brute beasts. God wants to teach us His ways. He wants us to use our minds and to see the marvelous purpose behind His laws. God wants us to understand and have insight into His holy commandments and ways.
God says further, “Be glad in the Eternal, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart” (Ps. 32:8-11). God gives happiness and joy to the people in contact with Him. For
God is not training horses with bit and bridle. God is teaching, training, rearing sons for His Kingdom! Are you allowing God to try your reins?