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Summary: There is a value of living a life of integrity. Here from the life of Daniel we see three benefits of having integrity.

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THE VALUE OF INTEGRITY

Daniel 2:13-30

Last week I shared with you on “Holding on to Biblical Integrity” and we talked about how important it is for the child of God to maintain his/her integrity before both the world and before the Lord. If you were here last week, you might remember that I said integrity was essentially “being real”. In other words, whatever you are on Sunday morning, is the same thing you will be on Monday or Tuesday, or any other morning as well. This reminds me of a story of a new minister who had just arrived in town to pastor a church. He had yet to unpack when he was approached by a family who had suffered the death of the father. They wanted this minister to conduct the funeral, unbeknown to the minister, this man was rather a wicked man with a jaded past. The minister, as he preached the service, became carried away by the occasion, as well as wanting to make an impression upon his new community, poured on praise for the departed man. After ten minutes of describing the late lamented as a good father, husband, and boss, the widow, whose expression had grown more and more puzzled, nudged her son and whispered quietly to him: "Go up there, look in the casket, and make sure it’s your father that’s there." Something wasn’t adding up. Let me ask you a question, “Is your life adding up to who you say you are?” Do you have integrity?

($20 bill illustration: ask, “Who would like this $20 bill?” Then crumple it up, step on it, roll it around and then hold it up again and ask, “Who still wants this $20 bill?”) The value remains no matter what the item looks like n the outside – no matter how scarred, bruised or beaten, the value is still the same. That is integrity. Integrity is important, especially in the times in which we live, if we expect to stay godly in an ungodly world.

Here in Daniel chapter two, Daniel’s integrity shines through the chaos surrounding all the other wise men of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar the king had dreamed a dream which according to scripture disturbed him and troubled his sleep. This dream so troubled Nebuchadnezzar that he called in four groups of Babylonian wisemen. These four groups show just how much Satan controlled Babylon. They were the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans. The magicians were those who were well versed in the knowledge of the occult. The Hebrew word is "chartom" {khar-tome’} and it means an engraver or inscriber. Their position was similar to that of the scribes of the Torah. They preserved the ancient arts of the occult by inscribing the knowledge down. The next group mentioned was the astrologers. They were the ones that studied the stars to predict future events. They also were called conjurers. The Hebrew referred to them as the "ashshaph" {ash-shawf’}. Not only did they study the stars, they also practiced the art of necromancy, which was the study of dead bodies as well as the examination of the intestines of slain animals. The next group was that of the sorcerers, or the "kashaph" {kaw-shaf’}. They practiced witchcraft through the use of familiar spirits (demons). The final group was the Chaldeans. The Hebrew refers to them as the "Kasdiy" {kas-dee’} those persons considered the wisest in the land (by extension). They were a special class of wise men, considered to be the wisest of the wise. They were usually associated with the priests of Babylon and were so prominent, that eventually the entire nation was called the Chaldeans, after their fame. Almost all of these groups were involved in the worship of idols (demons) involving in some cases human sacrifice. Daniel was truly in an ungodly world.

The king had dreamed a dream and called the wise men in and he gave them a strange request, to not only interpret the dream, but to also recall the dream, since he could no longer remember it. This brought howls of protests from these four groups, notice what they said in verse 10, “The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.” Nebuchadnezzar had accused them of forming lying words to gain time and now we see again the evidence of his fierce anger, he orders all the wise men of the realm to be killed. Daniel and his three friends were all grouped into this category as well. Daniel went to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, and found out what was going on and he asked for time to make the interpretation known to the king. Here was Daniel, facing a life and death crisis, but he is totally calm. I want to show you this morning, three advantages of walking in integrity from the life of Daniel. These advantages are found in maintaining a proper relationship with God.

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