Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When the Enemy Tries to Change your Name.

A few years ago, I started to wonder why we always call those famous Hebrew fellas by the names "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego."  Heck, I even named a few steers after them. 

The problem is, that wasn't their true names.

Their given names were actually Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

So, where do we get these other names? 

During the Babylonian captivity, certain Jewish young men were taken in to be trained in the Babylonian culture and literature.  Nebuchadnezzar (the King of Babylon) wanted to erase their former customs and assimilate them into Babylonian ways.  He wanted to brainwash them.  In this process, the King renamed the young men, Daniel included, therefore stripping them of their Jewish roots.

Daniel "God is my Judge" became Belteshazzar "Bel's Prince"

Hananiah "Yahweh is Gracious" became Shadrach "I am the command of the moon god Aku"

Mishael "Who is what God is?" became Meshach "Who is like Aku?"

Azariah "Yahweh is a Helper" became Abednego "Servant of the shining one Nebo"

(Bel, Aku, and Nebo were all Babylonian false gods.)

Let's don't skip over this and pretend it wasn't the most devastating thing to these Hebrew young men!  Names were a huge part of who they were.  It was as if Nebuchadnezzar stripped away their very identities.  Nebuchadnezzar wanted them to depend on his royal courts and forget about the royal court of Yahweh.  {Sounds like the enemy to me.}

Amazing, these young men! They refused to assimilate!  They resolved that they would not defile themselves and they continued to call one another by their real names.  By refusing rich Babylonian foods, they daily reminded themselves that they were a people set apart and that their God was worthy of worship.

The Babylonian King could change their names but he couldn't change their hearts and their allegiance to the true King.  The Babylonian King could change their names but he couldn't change the nature and actions of the God they worshipped!

God alone is Judge.
God alone is Gracious.
God alone is God and there is no one like Him.
God alone is Helper.

All other gods come up short.

{Read the fiery furnace passage with those meanings in mind and it will just come alive! Daniel 3}

I've thought a lot about names and how Satan can twist up their meanings just enough to confuse us about our identities in Christ.  Sometimes, he takes our very name's meanings and wreaks warfare around that one thing.

My name is Rebekah.  It can mean "to bind or tie...secured."  Wouldn't you know that I have battled insecurity all my days? But I can rest in the truth...I am secure in Christ's salvation.

I have a friend whose name means "close to God."  Don't you know Satan will try to do anything to keep her from having intimacy and sweet times with Him? But, the truth lies in this...she is close to God.

I have another of the meanings of her name is "industrious."  And she is, in a beautiful way.  But, I have seen the enemy try and consume her with work to the point of burnout and bitterness. The truth is that she is industrious for the kingdom but she must guard against unnecessary work.

God has a name for you that only He knows.  In one single word, it encompasses who He created you to be and who He is still forming you to be.  It is a word that is sacred because He whispered it while knitting you together in your mother's womb and He will whisper it again when He embraces you in heaven.

It is a name that the Enemy can never snatch away from you.

You can rest in that truth.

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