What’s Your Name? Rejecting False Labels Over Your Life [Part 1]
By Alan Wright — August 11, 2016
Are you ready for some good news?
Others can’t label you – only God can!
Text: “The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.” (Daniel 1:5–7, ESV)
Daniel was exiled to Babylon. As part of the Babylonian indoctrination program, Daniel and his three friends were required to learn the new Akkadian language, in a very difficult Cuneiform alphabet. They were immersed in the ways of the culture, customs and religion of the Babylonians, which were associated with the ways of the Chaldeans. The Chaldeans were so connected with astrology, sorcery and cultic magic practices that to say learn the way of the Chaldeans is almost to say learn the way of their cultic activities. It was all part of King Nebuchadnezzar’s plan.
Then to complete their indoctrination, the official assigned Daniel and his friends new names.
If you can name someone, you’ve taken authority over him.
Daniel is a beautiful name in Hebrew. The little fragment of the word, el, is short for Elohim, which is the name for God Who is the Creator of all things, the One true God, and Dani-el – Daniel – means God is my judge. It’s a beautiful name, yet the new empire gives him the name Belteshazzar, which means Lady (wife of the pagan God, Bel), protect the king. It is a reference to a goddess. The enemy empire names him Belteshazzar, but as we will see as we go through the book of Daniel, the Scripture narrator never calls him anything other than Daniel, or, Daniel (called Belteshazzar). By the end of the story, the new king, Belshazzar, calls him directly, Daniel. So the name Daniel prevails.
So the narrative of Daniel in one sense is about a battle between empires over who gets to name the man of God. And I’ll let you in on the ending: God wins.
The enemy of your soul wants to name you. Hell wants to label you. But only God can call you by the right name. You’re His child. That’s who you are. Daniel was called something else. But he never ceased be Daniel. You might be called all kinds of names. But you’ll never cease being God’s child. And that’s the Gospel!