Wednesday: April 1, 2020
Daniel 3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
Today’s text recalls the story of the three Hebrew men who even with the threat of death, refused to bow down to or worship the 27 meter high golden image of set up by Nebuchadnezzar; we know them as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. While reading this the text today, this question cross my mind: ‘why was Nebuchadnezzar fuming at their refusal to bow down?’
Was it because they had refused to acknowledge his sovereignty or because in disobeying the instructions he personally gave them, they had dented his ego and bruised his pride? Or could it have been something else? It was at this point that Hebrew names came to mind. Nebuchadnezzar knew them as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; names given to them by the chief eunuch before they entered the King’s service (Dan 1:7). However, even after that renaming, they resolved not to conform to the Babylonian way of life.
Thus, even while standing before Nebuchadnezzar, these young men held on firmly to their original names: Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The king would have expected that the change of name would corresponding to a change in orientation of their beliefs also but that didn’t happen. An even bigger reason to be more disappointed. My dear, every reported change of name in scripture, remained in effect only when it was executed by God Himself – Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah or Jacob to Israel. Thus, without God’s stamp of approval, the validity of any change loses effect. This is the message that jumped out at me as I read today’s text.
The original names of these these carried weighty meanings:
Hananiah meant ‘Yahweh is gracious’, Azariah meant ‘Yahweh has helped’ and Mishael, ‘who is like God’.
In effect, these were three men whose very names told a story and held a mystery about the nature of God. In fact, when Nebuchadnezzar asked ‘who is this God that can save you’, they might have laughed because in their minds they said ‘we know him – there is none like him, He is gracious and He will help’.
Sweetheart, don’t just accept an alteration of your name unless it proceeds from or is approved by God Himself. You have no idea what you might be letting go or taking on because of that change.