We've all read the story of the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace - Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These men were taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar and exiled to Babylon. The king wanted young men from the royal family and the nobility; men without any physical defect. They were to be assimilated into the Babylonian cultures - even given Babylonian names.
I've read this story many times, but something jumped out at me this time. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were their Babylonian names, not their Hebrew names. The real names were: Hanaiah, which means the Lord shows grace; Mishael, which means Who is like God?, and Azariah, which means the Lord helps. These names reflected their trust in the one true God. They were given Babylonian names in honor of the Babylonian gods: Shadrach, meaning under the command of Aku; Meshach, meaning Who is like Aku?; and Abednego, servant of Nebo.
Daniel, whose name means God is my judge, was also taken captive by the Babylonians and given the name Belteshazzar, meaning Bel, protect his life.
Now think about this. These men were given names by the Babylonians to reflect their mighty, powerful, gods. But who protected Daniel in the lion's den? Was it Bel or was it GOD? Whose command was Shadrach under in the fiery furnace? Was it Aku or was it GOD? Who showed himself to be like no other for Meshach? Was it Aku or was it GOD? Who helped Abednego as the flames were all around him? Was it Nebo or was it GOD? This got me so excited! The Babylonians could change their names, but they couldn't change the fact that it is GOD who saves and no other!
What does your name mean? Your earthly name may have a Biblical meaning or it may even have a negative connotation. It doesn't matter what name people give you. See yourself through God's eyes and hear the names He gives you: Blessed, Beloved of God, Friend, Chosen, Children of the living, Most High God, Sought Out, the Redeemed and Mine. Our God is mighty to save!
"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
If you are taking part in the challenge to memorize the entire book of James this year, you will need to memorize two verses each week. This week's verses are:
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.