Today’s Reading: Daniel 6:1-28
Dr. Madison Sarratt taught mathematics at Vanderbilt for many years. Before giving a test, he would put things in perspective for his students by admonishing his class with these words: “Today I am giving two examinations: one in trigonometry, and the other in honesty. I hope you will pass them both. But, if you must fail one, fail trigonometry. There are many good people in the world who cannot pass trigonometry, but there are no good people in the world who cannot pass the examination of honesty.”It doesn’t take long to realize that the really important tests in life come outside of the classroom.
In today’s reading Daniel was now facing his greatest test yet! In this test, we can see a very important truth that are meant by God to help us through the tests that we will inevitably face in life.
God’s tests are often designed to confront you with the reality of your own human limitations. Humanly speaking, Daniel’s situation was without hope. Verse 16 tells us that he had just been thrown into the lions’ den. A large stone was placed over the mouth of the den to ensure that there was no physical way for Daniel to escape and the placement of the royal seals on the secure den. Every precaution was taken to make sure that the deliverance of Daniel was humanly impossible. I know that some of you reading this feel like you are facing some personal impossibilities. And you are on the verge of giving up. Some of you are under-employed. For some of you, it’s an ongoing financial problem. For others, it’s relational. You’ve almost given up on your marriage making it. In spite of all you have done, things just are not improving. They seem to be getting worse. For some parents here today you are deeply concerned today about your children. For some, it’s a health problem or a recurring sin or addiction that you wonder if you will ever be able to conquer. No matter what you do, there just seems to be no way out. No hope for change. Whatever lions’ den you may find yourself in, now or in the future, sooner or later you must come face to face with your human limitations. Why? What good is that? To face all our human limitations seems counterproductive and defeating!
The truth is that it is the most spiritually productive place you could ever be! You see, God brings you into the lions’ den because he loves you. He does so because he knows that it is only when you come to the end of yourself that you will ever be able to taste the joys of truly knowing his presence and power in your life. It is only in dying to yourself that you can come alive to God.
God’s tests are designed to lead you into deeper levels of dependence on him to deliver you. God takes great pleasure in taking the most difficult situations in life—those that seem humanly impossible to us—and using those impossibilities as a way of increasing our faith in his unlimited capability.