Thursday, March 01, 2007

What are you Known by?

What are you Known by?

“To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego” (Daniel 1:7 New King James Version).

What name are you known by? Or, what are you known by? Let me give you an example: John Newton is known as “the writer of Amazing Grace,” but he was not always known as that. He was once known as “John Newton, slave trader.” Mr. Newton had the same name, but a different meaning. What happened? What caused this change?

As Paul said, “Then something happened! For it pleased God in His kindness to choose me and call me, even before I was born! What undeserved mercy!” (Galatians 1:15 – NLT). I can tell you what happened…Jesus came into John Newton’s heart! He became a new creation in Christ! Christ’s transforming grace worked into John Newton’s life until he quit trading in human flesh and became a pastor and hymn writer.

The world is going to give you a name, whether you like it or not. The question is, will you be known by it or make your own. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were taken into captivity in Babylon. They were given new names by the head servant of the palace. Here is a list of their Jewish names, what they meant, and their new Chaldean names along with their meanings.

Daniel = "God is my judge" / Belteshazzar = "the keeper of Bel’s treasure"
Hananiah = "God is gracious" / Shadrach = "inspired by the sun god"
Mishael = "who is what God is" / Meshach = "the goddess of mirth, Shak"
Azariah = "whom Jehovah has helped" / Abed-nego = "servant of Nebo”
(The four Chaldean names represented the four main gods of the Babylonians: Bel, the chief god; Rak, the sun god; Shak, the earth god; Nego, the fire god.)

What name went down into His-story, Daniel or Belteshazzar? You see, friend, when Daniel was given a choice of who to serve, he chose God (Daniel 1:8, 6:10). He let God be his judge and is known as “Daniel, Prophet of God.”

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are known in God’s word by their Chaldean names, but read the account and you will remember them forever because they stood for God (Daniel 3:12-30).
They may have been stuck with a name, but God gave them new meaning. They have come to be known as men who would rather die than to disobey God, not Babylonian servants. They were God pleasers, not men pleasers.

So, friend, regardless of your name, what are you known by? Let God give your name new meaning today. Know him, and He will make you a new person. Serve Him, regardless of cost or consequence, and your name will have eternal meaning. You will be known by His name…Christian.

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