Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What's in a Name?

What is your name? Do you know what it means?

Take a minute to consider 'What does your NAME represent?" When people hear your name, or the name of your family, what do they think? "Good worker"? "Nice people"? ...or do they think something different, like "Wierd family"? "Rude people"?

Daniel was a young man who was forcibly taken from Judah when it was overthrown by Nebachadnezzer of Babylon. He was forcibly removed from his family and brought to Babylon, along with his friends, to be indoctrinated in the ways of Babylon. This meant that he would have to eat what they ate, wear what they wore, etc. He would also be indoctrinated with Babylonian philosophy and religion. In fact, in order for Daniel to survive, he would need to be immersed in Babylonian culture.

...but that did NOT mean that he had to change who he was at his 'core'!

In fact, we are told that Daniel--in another act of humiliation--had his name changed.

"6 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. 7 The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names:

Daniel was called Belteshazzar.
Hananiah was called Shadrach.
Mishael was called Meshach.
Azariah was called Abednego."

Daniel and his friends were going to be immersed in the ways of the power of the world! The obvious goal was that they would become...'Babylonians', on a practical level!

But Daniel would not play along...nor would his 3 friends...seems that you can change a name (ie. the external title), and not touch the identity (the internal, heart-level person).

" 8 But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king."

Daniel and his friends sought (and were granted, due to some special work of God) special permission to eath a fruit/veggie diet (and so not to eat 'unclean' or 'defiled' food, which was part of his religious identity). The one in charge of them gave them permission and, after 10 days, found them to be even healthier...so he let them continue!

Daniel would learn many lessons in his years in Babylon...but one of the most important was that it is CRUCIAL that he not lose touch with the God of his people...that is, deep down, "WHO he really was".

How about us?

Have we become so 'indoctrinated' by the ways of this world that we've lost touch with the God we love? Is our faith watered down and mixed with so much of our world that it's hardly recognizable?

If so, we need to take a lesson from the young man, Daniel...and (after confessing it to God and repenting of it) we need to declare again WHO WE ARE--followers of God, through Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit!

What's in a name? What does YOUR name represent?

If it doesn't represent Jesus Christ, and His power to change a life, then maybe you need to learn a bit more from Daniel.

You may not be able to change the external circumstances around you...but you don't have to let those circumstances change you!

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