Summary: How do you react when pressue comes to bear? Daniel gives us "life lessons" on how to deal with integrity with the trials that will come our way. The first in a series on integrity.
Integrity - Belief Under Pressure
West Glendale Baptist Church
Pastor Don Jones
The next four weeks we will be looking at the topic of integrity as found in the book of Daniel. Webster’s defines integrity as, "1.firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: incorruptibility 2 : an unimpaired condition : soundness 3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness." It is closely related to the word honesty. I defined it last week as doing what you say, and saying what you do. It is where word and deed are in agreement. It is sticking to your guns no matter what the circumstances. It sounds easy, but it’s not. What do you do when the pressure to change builds in your life?
Cue slide - The Problem - Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Pressure
Daniel found himself in a pressure situation. His life was in turmoil at every level. His emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being was being threatened by world events.
Physically, he had been taken away from his familiar surroundings by the conquering king. Uprooted from Jerusalem he was taken to Babylon as a slave to live out the rest of his life in service to king Nebuchadnezzar. Perhaps he was to be a well treated slave but a slave none the less.
Emotionally, he was in turmoil. I have said that my next move will be when they take my body from my house for burial. That’s how stressful moving is for me and I dare say, for most of us. Daniel was taken forcibly from his home to a foreign land in chains. We cannot imagine how he was feeling. The emotional stress from such an event would be overwhelming.
Spiritually, add to all of this seeing your place of worship sacked and in ruins. His place of worship was destroyed and its valuables taken as spoils back to Babylon. Verse 2 says,
"And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god."
Imagine someone coming into our place of worship this morning and destroying, robbing, and possibly killing. Do you think we would be "stressed out" and our lives in turmoil?
The sin of the people of God had finally taken its’ toll. Judgment had come. After all the warning, God in His time, allowed His people to be conquered. But in the midst of the judgment and turmoil God had a divine plan for Daniel.
Cue slide - The Potential
Daniel was evidently a very talented individual. He had a great many assets in his favor. He had what we would call, potential. Evidently he was intelligent, good looking, and in great shape. Much like your pastor. (wait for laughter to die down) The court official was asked to fill an order for the king. Verse 4 says the court official was to bring the king,
"young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace."