Daniel – a Model of Integrity
I. The Interest of Nebuchadnezzer.
Daniel 1:3-4 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
A. Nebuchadnezzer’s goal.
He wanted to develop a character in them to effectively submit and serve in the administration of his kingdom. Through background research and personal interviews, the kings counsellors looked for the following qualities –
1. Physical presence.
2. Intellectual ability.
3. Social adaptability.
This is the world’s formula for success.
Remember when Samuel was interviewing Jesse’s sons to find the man that God had chosen to be king, these were the qualities that he looked for. The Lord intervened and revealed an important truth to Samuel –
1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
B. Nebuchadnezzer was of the world. He had no knowledge or interest in the character that God develops in lives –
1. Morality – a holy character.
2. Meekness – a reliance on God.
3. Mercy – not self seeking.
While Daniel and his friends had these Godly qualities, they were initially chosen on the merits of man’s wisdom. Once they were chosen, they faced an intense program –
II. The Indoctrination.
They may have been intrigued by the aspects of their proposed education. They were obviously able to excel in the system of the Chaldeans as they had been chosen from among all others for this program.
A. The task – it was more than simply and education in new things – math, science, language, culture.
B. The truth – not to just educate, but to transform these young Jewish men into Chaldeans.
1. They began with the change of their names.
a. Daniel is the Hebrew name that means “God is Judge”.
b. Belteshazzar is Chaldean for “Bel’s Prince”, suggesting that Daniel would become a disciple of the false God of the Chaldeans.
2. They continued with the change of language. Language is the reflection of the culture.
3. They also changed the diet, knowing that diet is unique to cultures and involves tradition and fellowship.
What is called today ‘brain washed’. Forget the past and become Chaldeans.
III. The Integrity Daniel 1:5-8 Note vs. 8
A. The courage of integrity.
Daniel’s request went against the purpose of Nebuchadnezzar. Convictions were backed by courage.
B. The character of integrity.
1. Daniel had an unapologizing boldness. Daniel 1:8.
a. Daniel’s declaration. “…might not defile himself…”
Those in charge may have said “wait a minute, this is what we eat and drink! Does that mean that we are defiled”?
b. Daniel’s desire. He set a high standard for himself.
1). He would eat vegetables only. This was not required by God, but it would set a standard of difference between him and the other leaders of the Chaldeans.
2). He would drink no wine. He purposed that he would rise above the standards of the world and would live according to the standard set by God for the priest and judges.
Leviticus 10:8-11 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.
Proverbs 31:4-5 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
We note that Daniel expected more of himself than others expected of him.
2. Daniel had unrelenting will. Daniel 1:11-13
a. He was not deterred when told that the diet could not be changed.
b. He appealed the ruling and trusted God for the outcome.
c. How many of us in a similar situation may say “Oh, is that the way it is? – Well, whatever”.
3. Daniel had unfailing faith. Daniel 1:14-16
a. Daniel expected God to bless.
b. Daniel and his friends displayed integrity in not compromising their convictions in this beginning of a new life. Everything for them had changed – except their God. They knew and trust in the unchanging God.
Integrity should be the characteristic of every believer. It can be done – God has not changed!
We must begin with salvation. We cannot know truth outside of the Spiritual leadership of God. Trust Him as Saviour today.