Daniel 1: 7
The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
Why? Why change someone’s name? What is the purpose behind this? The answer is simple: Total Control. You see our names are very important to us. My name is Michele and it is spelled with one L. So I get upset when I see someone spell it with two. Others who have different spellings for their names can understand. Our name is personal, its a part of our identity. Our parents gave us those names. I got a new puppy in September of 2020, and the first thing he learned at obedience school was his name. That is how important a name is, that even an animal, a pet, must be taught their name before any other command. Which brings me to the why of this post.
Why did the King of Babylon want their names changed? Well lets look at what we know about these men so far.
- Captives from Jerusalem
- Men from royal and noble family
- no physical defect
- show an aptitude for every kind of learning
- well informed
- quick to understand
- qualified to serve in the kings palace
- learn their language and literature
Ten ways to make sure that the king would have the dedication of these 4 men. These 4 men where good workers. However, they never gave that king their dedication. They only bowed down to God. This is important for all of us to remember, especially for this time in our lives. We are living in a time when the world is trying hard to define all of us so that they can get our devotion to their thinking. Children of God are not citizens of this world. We are Holy and Redeemed by Jesus Christ. The world wants to call us: Republican/Democrat; Black/White; Christian/Jew/Muslim; Liberal/Socialist/Conservative; Pro life/Pro Abortion; Heterosexuals’/Homosexuals’/Everything and Anything Sexual. These lists go on and are growing. They have one thing in common: Identity. Depending on the names we are called, we are thus identified.
Now I pause at this part because this is where many find fear. Fear in what they say of themselves might get them fired from a job or replaced on a team. Crazy sounding but true. But what is even crazier is this: The risk of being fired or replaced is greater in the more conservative you are. Example: I am Christian, Conservative, Heterosexual, Pro Life, White Republican. That is a far more hated identity than all others. Suddenly I live in a time when being any one of those markers can get me killed, beaten and or hated.
Names, names are very important. That is why the world tries to change our names. What’s yours?