“It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty satraps, that they might be over the whole kingdom. And over them were three presidents (Daniel was one of them), so that these satraps might give account to them, and the king should have no loss. Then this Daniel was made overseer of the presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king was planning to set him over all the kingdom. Then the presidents and rulers sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom. But they could find no occasion or fault, because he was faithful. Neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then these men said, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the Law of his God.”
“My God has sent his angel, and has shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me…”
The word ‘fault,’ in the first passage is an Aramaic word that has the idea of ‘decay or corruption.’
They were putting a ‘fine-tooth comb’ over Daniel’s life looking for something going on beneath the surface of his life that had corruption in it.
The word ‘error,’ has the idea of negligence or something remiss in his service. This doesn’t have the idea of something that is deliberately disguised beneath the surface as ‘fault’ does. It simply refers to his competence.
Daniel couldn’t be faulted in error arena.
Daniel’s life is marked by a profound degree of integrity and competence.
The Hebrew word translated by our word integrity, is ‘toom.’ The idea is ‘complete,’ ‘full,’ ‘perfect,’ ‘entire.’
It’s used in the following passages;
1 Kings 22:34
“And a certain man drew a bow, at a venture and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness...”
The idea here is that this man did not know he was about to shoot the King. He did it in his innocency.
2 Samuel 15:11
“And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity and they knew not anything.”
They were not conscious of the evil design behind this invitation.
In these Scriptures the idea is that there is no duplicity. The inside is the same as the outside. There’s no underlying motives or agenda. The affectations and the affections are the same thing.
1 Chron. 12:33,
Of Zebulon, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war I fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart…”
The margin says “They did not have heart and a heart.”
A heart of integrity is one that is wholly set on God – single purposed; it’s complete and full in its direction and devotion towards the Lord.
David Vaughan states,
“A person with integrity does not have divided loyalties [that’s duplicity], nor is he or she merely pretending [that’s hypocrisy]. People with integrity are ‘whole people;’ they can be identified by their ‘single-mindedness.’”
The question arises, “How do you get such a heart, or is it even possible?”
“Doesn’t the Bible say “The heart is deceitfully wicked, above all things, who can know it?” [Jeremiah 17:9.]
How can our hearts be wholly His when we don’t even know what’s wholly in our hearts?
It isn’t talking about perfection in the sense of fastidious flawlessness.
It’s about the direction of the heart. It’s about the willingness to live in, and responsive to, the light that the Holy Spirit gives to us.
“Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.”
Integrity is intimately related to the presence of God.
It’s a willingness to go before the presence of God – defences down – and to hear His commentary on our life, our actions, our attitudes, our motivations.
It displays a willingness to let Him pass judgment, and openness on our part to listen to it.
There is a willingness to constantly allow, and invite the Holy Spirit, to make me sensitive to matters that make a difference to God – however small or unperceived they may at first seem to us.
Integrity requires us to lay down what we think or assume and listen to what the Lord’s deliberations are.
That level of vulnerability is not easily achieved.
To the degree that we refuse to be this vulnerable, we create shadows in our experience and those shadows prevent us from functioning in integrity of heart.
“No one, when he has lighted a lamp, puts it in a secret place, or under a grain-measure, but on a lampstand, so that they who come in may see the light. The light of the body is the eye. Therefore when your eye is single, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is evil, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light in you is not darkness. Therefore if your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the shining of a lamp enlightens you.”
This is an illustration taken from the market place in Jesus’ day.
Cloth merchants would, by sleight of hand, hide the flaws in a piece of cloth by skilfully folding the material as they displayed it and thereby deceive the buyer into thinking they had a good piece of cloth.
Jesus was saying, “Don’t do this as you come before the Lord. Unfold your life out in his light and let him deal with the flaws.”
W. E. Vine says of this word,
“Singleness of purpose [being unfolded in his presence] keeps us from the snare of having a double treasure and consequently a divided heart.”
J. W. Hayford, described integrity as ‘living in the power of an ungrieved spirit.’
“The just man walks in his integrity: his children are blessed after him,”
Daniel was a tremendous blessing to his people and to the nation that he was exiled to.
We can only guess the impact that his life might have had.
It has been suggested that the Magi that came to Bethlehem were from Babylon and that the reason they knew about the coming King was because of the legacy that Daniel left in that nation.
Integrity is vital if we are going to last in, and be a shaping force to, the secular city we have been placed among.
- Don Barry