Daniel 1:6-7, “6 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego”
William Shakespeare wrote, “A rose by any other name is still a rose.” When it’s all said and done weather it’s a Hybrid Tea, a Grandiflora, a Floribunda, a Landscape rose, a Climbing rose, a Miniature rose, a Standard Tree Rose, a Patio Tree Roses, a Miniature Tree Rose, or an English rose, “A rose by any other name is still a rose.” Shakespeare’s words ring true in light of trying to change a name, does not equate to an identity change. When Daniel and his friends were exiled into the ungodly land of Babylon the Prince of the eunuchs whom God would bring Daniel into favor with tried to really make the young Hebrew men adjust to their new pagan surroundings. The Hebrews had to adapt and learn a different language, a different culture, different literature (stories/heroes), a different dress (clothing / outerwear), and now they were even being given different names. Weather knowingly or unknowingly I believe this was an attempt to tamper with the very nature and identity of these young men. After all as the old saying goes, “when in Rome do as the Romans do.” Well it seems this is precisely what those overseeing the Hebrews were trying to do; when in Babylon, do as the Babylonians do.” These Hebrews came in with Hebrew names, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, but The chief official gave them new names….” It seems apparent that this name change was not one whereby the Hebrew men were consulted. Consider the Hebrew name they had and what it meant as opposed to the Babylonian name that was pronounced upon them, and the meaning it held.
Daniel means “God is my judge” and his name was changed to Belteshazzar, which means may Bel (an Assyrian god) protect him. Hananiah translates to “Yahweh has shown grace,” or “Whom Jehovah hath favor,” yet his Babylonian name change was Shadrach, “a Sumerian or Elimite moon-god”. Mishael is interpreted as “Who is what God is,” and he was given the name Meshach, which “ironically” stands for “Who is what Aku (a pagan god) is”. Lastly Azariah is equivalent to “Yahweh has helped, yet his alias became Abednego “servant of Nego (a pagan god)”. These men were Yahweh followers to the core, even though their names were altered. The Babylonians may have changed everything outside about them, but nothing on the inside could be tainted. Remember the key verse from Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…,”was the desire within not to be defiled and that desire was lived out the entire time they were on ungodly terrain. Romans 12:2 tells us, “And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Babylon (a type of the world) will try and change you and make you one of its disciples, conformed to its ungodly image. No matter what this world calls you, and how it identifies you, remember your name, Christian, follower of Christ. That name doesn’t hold much weight with the world, but that’s fine, because who are you trying to please anyway. These young men had the help and favor of God who their judge. They served the matchless, unchanging God whose name is Yahweh, Jehovah, the Ancient of Days. Know who you are in Christ, a saint, NOT a sinner; a holy child of God, not an unholy worthless life. Many Christians don’t recognize their name, their nature, their identity in Christ, and that works against them. Today know who you are in Christ.
Application: No matter what the world calls you, remember that God calls you His child. Now live unashamedly for Christ that purchased you by His own blood. By Pastor Phil
- Stay the Course, Pastor Phil Sessa (magnifyhisword.wordpress.com)