Reference text: Daniel 1:1-6, 8-20
Daniel 1:7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.
Nebuchadnezzar, after conquering Judah, requested that some young men be brought to his palace in Babylon for service. In his criteria for selection, he expected these men to possess a high level of intellectual prowess for literature and science, as well as be capable of standing in His presence. Hence the arrival of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
When a prisoner of war is captured, the first thing done is to attempt to break them so they conform and become obedient. The chief eunuch in Nebuchadnezzar’s Palace did something along the same line, albeit without using torture. Instead, he gave them the alternative names: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego respectively.
Though this may appear a normal routine to give ‘slaves’ a new name, the significance of names in this particular text cannot be overlooked. By changing the original Hebrew names which meant God is my judge, God is gracious, who is like God and God helps respectively; and giving them Babylonian names that made reference to their gods, this was a way of saying to them ‘you are in New land hence it is time to change your allegiance too’.
Interestingly, from the word go, these young men never really accepted the names given to them nor did they make any attempt to conform- they lived as Hebrew men even opting to avoid the king’s food. Beloved, sometimes our allegiance to God will be tested through the most extreme of situations however, amidst all that, let us not abandon our God because He will always stay true to us.
Remember # your allegiance to God is from within, not without.