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Thursday, January 31st 2008

7:32 AM

I was flipping through my Bible looking for Nehemiah and came across the book of Daniel.  You know the one, where the 3 hebrew children get thrown into the firey furnace?  Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego.

My eye caught some old notes written on the first page of the chapter, probably from a sermon I heard sometime.  My notes were simply the names and meanings of the 3 hebrew children and daniel, given to them by their parents in their homeland and then then names given to them when they were taken captive by Babylon, with the meanings of those names as well.

Just in case you aren't familiar with the story, Judah, a hebrew (jewish) nation, was captured by Babylon.  God allowed it because His people had turned to idolatry and he used Babylon to bring their hearts back to Him as their God.  The 3 hebrew children and Daniel were young men, most likely of some type of jewish nobility, who were captured and taken to be raised and live and work for the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzer.

According to jewish custom, these young men were given names by their parents that were actually significant to their life message.  The names reflected who they were in relationship to their God, the one and only true God AND how they would live in relationship to him.  The Babylonians changed these important names to reflect something about the Gods of Babylon - they worshipped many Gods and were in direct opposition to Judah's One True God, Yahweh.

The names of these young men were as follows:

The jewish name, Hannaniah means "The grace of the Lord" .  The name given him by the Babylonians was Shadrach which means "Inspiration of the sun."

The jewish name, Mishael means "He that is the Strong God" as opposed to the Babylonian Meschach which means "Of the goddess schach" (venus).

The jewish name, Azariah means "The Lord is a help" but the Babylonian Abendego means "Servant of the shining fire".

The jewish name, Daniel, means "God is my judge", the Babylonian Belteshazar means "Baal (which is a false God) will protect his life.

In spite being given a name that directly opposed everything they stood for, inspite of  captivity and the total cultural change, these young men were able to fulfill the names given by their parents because they SUBMITTED TO GOD, even in the face of death.  They chose to follow the one true God, Yahweh, rather than bow in fear to their captors.

This made me think about how often in America we feel we can't do whatever it is we need to do or God has called us to do because of people or our evil culture.  That is just a lie from the enemy designed to paralyze and discourage us.  James says Resist the Devil, Submit to God and the devil will flee from you!

These young men did not take on the identity of their captors.  They just continually submitted to what they KNEW God wanted them to do and God did some amazing miracles!

Read the rest of the story in the book of Daniel.

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