Select your language

The Bravery of Integrity

Daniel and his friends displayed in their lives and service the essence of true religion—that character is not the product of mere academic training but is rooted in the principles and values of God’s Word.

aniel and his three friends were brilliant young men of noble descent (Daniel 1:3). They were “good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had the ability to serve in the king’s palace” (vs. 4, NKJV).1 They had their early education in Judea and were taken as captives to Babylon. But before they could enter the service of Nebuchadnezzar, they had to undergo training at the king’s palace, which took some three years to complete (vs. 5). The Babylonian curriculum no doubt embraced science (astronomy and mathematics) and literature (natural history and languages, such as Sumerian and Aramaic), as well as oneirology, the study of dreams and their interpretation.

Daniel became known as one who had “‘an excellent spirit,’” ruakh yattira (Daniel 5:12). Because of this excellent spirit, Daniel was recognized as someone in whom “‘light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found.’” Royalty in Babylon rightly identified Daniel’s ruakh yattira as the “‘Spirit of God’” and “‘light and understanding and excellent wisdom’” (5:11, 14). A similar expression is used again in Daniel 6:3 to characterize Daniel’s service in the Medo-Persian kingdom. Throughout the narratives of Daniel 1 to 6, integrity, faith, and character as hallmarks of the Holy Spirit characterize the life and service of Daniel and his companions.

A life of integrity

Note first their integrity. The four Hebrews took their studies seriously. We can be certain that they submitted all their assignments on time and never attempted to cheat during an examination but rather, put to maximum use the intellectual abilities God had given them. Such behaviors reveal proof of stewardship. And God rewarded their faithfulness and hard work with “knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom” (Daniel 1:17). The extraordinary abilities God granted them were both intellectual and spiritual. At the end of their studies, the king found these Hebrews “ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm” (1:20). All four became statesmen in the kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar made Daniel the primary ruler of the province of Babylon and his advisor at the court (2:49), while Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego were given oversight of the province of Babylon (2:49).

These Hebrews consistently displayed an unshakeable trust in God. They obeyed His Word and remained pure regardless of circumstances. For example, during their training, when they were served royal food and drinks, they chose to eat only what God had allowed (Daniel 1:8–12). They continually sought God’s help through prayer and praise (2:17–23). Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image because they had made their choice: to worship only the God of heaven (3:12, 18). Even when threatened with death in the fiery furnace, they chose to stand at the side of the living God with the explanation: “‘our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us.’” But even if He did not, “‘we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up’” (3:17, 18).

Likewise, Daniel exhibited an unshakeable trust in God. In chapter 6, we see him praying to God despite the decree that “‘whoever petitions any god . . . shall be cast into the den of lions’” (6:7).

As statesmen, the four Hebrews were faithful to God and the king they served insofar as God’s Word would allow (Daniel 2:49; 3:12; 6:1–10). God’s values guided all their choices. And God honored those choices according to His purposes. The experiences of Daniel and his friends show that whatever challenges they face, even life-threatening circumstances (2:12; 3:17, 18, 26; 6:22, 23), God is with His followers even as they follow their decision to serve Him.

A life of faith

Second, Daniel and his friends lived lives of faith. A life of faith will lead the believer to always honor the name of the Lord, which will lead others to acknowledge His sovereignty. Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged that Daniel’s “‘God is God of gods and Lord of kings’” (2:47) and that He was the “‘Most High’” God whose “‘dominion is an everlasting dominion . . . and His kingdom is from generation to generation’” (4:34). Likewise, Darius’ decree declared that people “‘must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God’” (6:26).

Through Daniel and his friends, the kings of Babylon and Medo-Persia learned to revere the God of Israel.

We do not have much information regarding the executive integrity of Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego in their roles as rulers of the province. However, we can be certain that they would have served honestly and well in their official capacities. If they did not budge in the face of a fiery furnace, they certainly would have stood for the right in their administrative responsibilities.

Daniel 6 records a powerful testimony about Daniel’s integrity. King Darius had set 120 satraps over the Medo-Persian kingdom. Over these satraps he placed three administrators, among whom was Daniel. This arrangement was probably a powersharing mechanism that would ensure that the kingdom did not suffer economic loss. In Daniel 6:3 to 5, we learn that Daniel “distinguished himself” among the administrators and that the king wanted to set Daniel “over the whole realm” (vs. 3). In a bid to disgrace Daniel and prevent his further promotion, his fellow officers sought grounds to accuse him of dishonesty or incompetence in matters of government, but they could find “no error or fault” in him (vs. 4).

Daniel was completely trustworthy; there was no corruption in him, not even a trace of negligence. He was a law-abiding citizen and a statesman of unquestionable integrity. He would not cause financial loss to the kingdom. As Joyce G. Baldwin has noted, the king’s “intention in appointing overseers of his civil service is that the king might suffer no loss, that is, in territory due to uprisings, or in taxation due to graft. The danger was ever present (cf. Ezra 4:13, relating to the next century) and a senior person known to be impervious to corruption (verse 4) would be an obvious candidate for extra responsibility.”2

A life of exemplary character

Third, the lives of Daniel and his friends point to the importance of character. What made Daniel different from other administrators in the Medo-Persian kingdom? He had all it took to serve in a high government position—an excellent education and vast experience, having served in an equally high position in the Babylonian kingdom. Yet, he outshone his fellow administrators, not because of his academic excellence, but because he had an “excellent spirit” in him—an exceptional character of high moral and spiritual values that had been inculcated through his faith. The key to the extraordinary statesmanship of Daniel and his three friends was their wholistic education, which forged the values of the law of God with excellence in service in whatever field they served.

As Ellen White stated: “The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.”3

Daniel and his companions exemplified integrity, faith, and character and met every test. They stand with the bravest of all time, with their integrity displayed for all to see in their lives and service. They demonstrated that the essence of religion is the fear of God and that integrity is not the product of mere academic training but must be rooted in the principles and values of God’s Word. They were not just outwardly religious, but they submitted their total being to the demands of God. Their constant reliance on God and His Word gave them something Babylonian education could never offer.

The essence of the value-based, wholistic education that Seventh-day Adventists promote—even when one is “exiled in Babylon”—requires courageously developing a life of integrity based on biblical principles. Christ has sent His Spirit to empower His followers to be wise in all things—in matters of faith as well as food and drink—in lifestyle, friendship, academic and professional integrity, and even in political correctness or ambition. Such bravery, despite often coming under attack, will produce a compelling witness to God and His ever-abiding love.

(PhD, Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, Philippines) is an Associate Director of the Biblical Research Institute at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Recommended Citation

Daniel Bediako, "The Bravery of Integrity," Dialogue 35:1 (2023): 19-21

Notes and references

1. All Scripture passages in this article are quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

2. Joyce G. Baldwin, Daniel: An Introduction and Commentary (Leicester, U.K.: InterVarsity Press, 1978), 128. Italics in the original.

3. Ellen G. White, Education (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press, 1903), 57.

The Bravery of Integrity ADVENT7


Discover a world of wellness with our captivating lifestyle health articles. Explore expert tips, inspiring stories, and embrace a healthier lifestyle today!


Experience the joy of family life through our engaging articles. Discover parenting tips, heartwarming stories, and create cherished memories with your loved ones.

CommunityEducation | Church | News

Explore insightful articles on the Bible and faith, delving into profound wisdom, spiritual insights, and deepening your connection with God.

EXPERIENCEDmore intense workouts for the personal

Cursus elit, iaculis platea integer nisl sapien egestas. Itae donec ornare iaculis mauris nec ultrices ullamcorper tempus dignissim. Ac purus, sed at maecenas elit odio blandit sem.

Join us today

EXPERIENCEDBuild Perfect body with clean mind

Cursus elit, iaculis platea integer nisl sapien egestas. Itae donec ornare iaculis mauris nec ultrices ullamcorper tempus dignissim. Ac purus, sed at maecenas elit odio blandit sem.

Join us today