Text: Daniel 1-3; Psalm 143
When Daniel and his companions are in captivity in Babylon, they distinguish themselves by refusing to compromise their standards of living before God. They also distinguish themselves with excellence – and are cited as “ten times better” than their Babylonian counterparts (1:28). Their captors’ agenda is to change these young men, to indoctrinate them into the Babylonian way of life. One of the steps taken to do this is to give them all Babylonian names:
And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. (1:7)
All four Hebrew names include the name of the Lord God, and all four of the Babylonian names include the name of a pagan god. Consider this: Daniel means “God is judge”: Belteshazzar means “May Bel protect his life”; Hanahiah means “Yehweh is gracious”, Shadrach means “command of Aku” (the moon god); Mishael means “who is what God is”, Meshach means “who is what Aku is”; and finally, Azariah means “whom Yehweh helps” while Abednego means “servant of Nebo” (another god).
The World is working overtime to incite God’s people to compromise. But, as we will see from the godly and courageous behavior of these young men, the world can call God’s own by any name, but the world cannot change God’s claim on His own. We belong to the Lord. Amen!
in Him, Mike