Integrity Is Revealed in Our Public Lives

Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?”

The king answered and said, “The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.”

So they answered and said before the king, “That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”

And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.”

So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed.

Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”

Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.

And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions—them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den. — Daniel 6:11-24

Like the professional world, the public arena is not an easy place to start from scratch in an effort to become a person of integrity. One reason is that, in our culture, like Daniel’s, it is not always true that when we do wrong we will be punished and when we do right we will be rewarded. At times the reverse seems true, challenging our commitment to do what is right. We are about to see how doing right was not rewarded in the case of our friend Daniel. Just when the situation looked hopeless, though, Daniel was delivered from death “because he believed in his God” (Daniel 6:23). What he was in the private, secret place — a committed follower of God — was ultimately revealed in the public square.

This was quite a night recorded here for all posterity in Daniel 6 as Daniel found himself the companion of a bunch of hungry lions. He had been thrown into their den, but he slept like a baby right in their midst.

And King Darius was amazed and relieved. Duped by Daniel’s enemies to sign the decree that mandated what appeared to be Daniel’s death, Darius stayed up all night, pacing back and forth in confusion and concern. At dawn he rushed to the lions’ den, cupped his hands around his mouth, and shouted,

Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions? — Daniel 6:20

Daniel stirred, rubbed his eyes, stretched out his arms, yawned, wiped the lion hair from his head where he had pillowed it, and answered,

O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you. — Daniel 6:21-22)

The king’s question is the question our culture is asking today: Is our God whom we serve able to deliver us?

A Public Testimony

Daniel had kept his faith in God, a mark of true integrity that is rooted deep in one’s private world. It always follows that integrity is ultimately revealed in the public world for God’s glory and our good. There is a lesson here for us. Daniel was in the lions’ den not because he had done wrong but because he had done right. We all know of people who, like Daniel, have paid a great price for actually doing what was right. But, when all is said and finally done, God — who will never abdicate His throne — will right all wrongs. What we see in Daniel’s experience is that, in the final analysis, our integrity will be revealed in the public world as a testimony to our faith and our God.

Upon being delivered from the lions’ den, Daniel’s integrity was on public display. He took no credit for his deliverance. He was quick to say,

My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths. — Daniel 6:22

People of integrity do not take personal credit for something they did not do.

In response, Darius made this startling decree:

To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:

Peace be multiplied to you.
I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.
For He is the living God,
And steadfast forever;
His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed,
And His dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues,
And He works signs and wonders

In heaven and on earth,
Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. — Daniel 6:25-27

Even a lost culture will stop and take notice of a person of integrity when that integrity is, sooner or later, revealed in the public world.

Private, Personal, Professional, and Public Integrity

So what do we really learn from Daniel’s experience in the midst of the lions?

We learn that our integrity must be rooted in our private life. Prayer should be our number one priority. In Daniel’s own value system, his private time alone with his God was his highest priority.

We learn that integrity is reflected in our personal lives. How we respond and react in our personal relationships with those who know us best is directly correlated to the strength of our own private life with the Lord.

We also learn that true integrity can always be reinforced in our professional lives. Integrity is crucial in the market- place. Many professing believers are not influencing our culture because their lives Monday through Friday are not that different from the lives of those with whom they work. The best place to engage and transform our culture is not the place where we spend Sunday morning but the place where we spend Monday through Friday of each week.

Finally, we learn that integrity will ultimately be revealed in the public life. Everything King Darius knew about God he learned by observing Daniel’s public life of integrity. Think about that. We are being watched, and our world still wants to know, “Is your God able to deliver you?” They will never know unless we are men and women of integrity.

The Daniel Code

Our culture brings new challenges to our Christian faith with each passing day. New assaults on religious liberties, cherished for centuries, are happening with increasing regularity. And Daniel would be able to relate. Like many of us, Daniel grew up in a culture built on biblical truth and centered in traditional family values. And then he found himself living in a culture that was hostile to everything he had ever known. His value system, his truth claims, and his moral compass were challenged repeatedly at every turn. His world was suddenly a world of pluralistic thought. But Daniel had a different spirit about him. He was a man of integrity who not only engaged his culture head-on but actually was used by God to transform it. And — just in case we need to be reminded —

Daniel’s God is still our God!

Seemingly with every new court decision, our twenty-first-century culture brings new challenges to our Christian values and truth claims. Those of us who once knew a Judeo-Christian culture have suddenly found ourselves living in a culture as hostile to what we believe as Babylon was to Daniel. Our world is evolving into one of massive pluralism with an encroaching paganism attached to various belief systems. Our nation — our culture — is in great need of men and women whose integrity is rooted in their private lives, reflected in their personal lives, reinforced in the professional setting, and revealed in public. May they rise up and be counted!

So Daniel has left us his own code for engaging and influencing our culture. It is centered in our personal integrity. And if we are going to find our way through a culture that has lost its way, we can’t leave home without it!

Excerpted with permission from The Daniel Code by O. S. Hawkins, copyright O. S. Hawkins

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Your Turn

Daniel’s God is still our God! Even in our culture where doing right was not always rewarded and wicked behavior oftentimes is rewarded, our God is still God! And, just like Daniel, who we are in private doesn’t stay private. People will know whom we serve. Who are we serving? Is our faith impacting our culture as Daniel’s did? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

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Dr. O.S. Hawkins

For more than 20 years, O. S. Hawkins served pastorates at the First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and in Dallas, Texas. He is president of GuideStone Financial Resources, which serves 200,000 pastors, church staff, missionaries, doctors, and other workers of various Christian organizations with their retirement needs. He is the author of more than 25 books and preaches regularly at Bible conferences, evangelism conferences, and churches across the nation.

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