James 1:17 expresses a defining truth about God’s character. He does not change. We know he is perfectly consistent and therefore trustworthy.
The dictionary definition of integrity is ‘A firm adherence to moral and ethical principles; honesty and consistency of character’.
God is the definition and benchmark of integrity.
As we read through Kings and Chronicles, royal integrity is summarized in one of two ways:
“He did evil in the sight of the Lord,” or, “He did right in the sight of the Lord.” Sometimes we read “He did right but not like David.” There is a difference between doing right because it is expected and doing right because you have a heart after God’s.
Consider King Jehoash. He did right for as long as Jehoiada the priest instructed him. After Jehoiada died, Jehoash began to worship idols. When the son of Jehoiada, pointed out the king’s error, Jehoash had him killed, adding murder to apostasy (detailed in 2 Chronicles 24:17-25).
Jehoash displayed an inconsistency of character. Where there is no true integrity, there are trust issues and eventually his servants conspired to have him killed. Jehoash started strong but failed miserably in the end.
Paul’s experience was the reverse. He started poorly and then saw the error of his ways. Not trusting his own integrity, he chose to be guided by the integrity of the Holy Spirit.
When Paul defended himself before Festus, he stated with full confidence.“I have committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” He continued with “I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know.” The charges against him were unprovable because they were uncharacteristic. Paul was consistent to the end. He finished strong.
Reading through Kings we see that God’s integrity moves him to keep his promises to a fickle people who repeatedly turn to idols. When we turn back to God, his loving response is inevitable as we see in today’s reading of Psalm 81:7 “In your distress you called and I rescued you”.
We know where proven integrity is found. If we let the integrity of the Holy Spirit guide us, we will finish strong.
A scholar and a gentleman who loves writing about God’s Word