march 29th - integrity
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore, he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Dan 1:8 (NKJV)
If there was one word that I would use to describe Daniel, it would be the word, "Integrity." He was a young man--captured by the enemies of his people--taken to serve in a foreign country--a place far from the safety of his home and family. His very survival was dependent on his ability to perform and the whim of a temperamental ruler. His first test arrived when his abductors demanded that he eat types of food and drink that would have violated his religion.
To refuse the food and drink of the King could very easily
have ended Daniel's life. Despite the threat Daniel purposed
in his heart that he would not defile himself. A bold and courageous decision. The King's steward exempted Daniel and his friends from eating and drinking the King's food. In the end, God intervened and Daniel and his friends looked better fed that their "King-fed" counterparts.
What is surprising about this story is not God's miraculous intervention, rather, it is the integrity of a young man who was willing to risk it all for what he believed to be right. Not compromising one's standards in the face of peer and cultural pressure takes a courageous heart. Daring to be different than the crowd and to deny the urge to be accepted by fitting in is rare. But, Daniel is proof that it can be done!
We live in a world that is challenging to our spiritual integrity. There is a strong temptation just to go along to get along. But, once we start down that road where and when to we get off? Better to stand in and for the values that we truly believe in. Integrity is indeed a road less traveled.
Author’s Note: Daniel is near the top of my list of favorite Bible Heroes! It would have been so easy for Daniel to make compromises to get along; instead, we have a man who put everything on the line in order to maintain his personal values. We need God to raise up an army of “Daniels” to stand for God in this age of political correctness and general moral decline. RJD