December 27

Daniel 1:7-8 7The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. 8But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

Daniel was one of the young men from the court of the king of Judah who was taken to be re-educated to serve as a eunuch for the king of Babylon. Daniel served the kings of Babylon and Medo-Persia as a government official until the return of the Jews seventy years later.

One of the first things Babylon did was to try to change the identity of these men. Daniel means "God is judge," but his new name means 'Bel will protect'. Hananiah means "the LORD is gracious," but his new name is "inspired of Aku." Azariah means "the LORD is my help', but his new name is "servant of Nego." Mishael means 'who is like God," but his new name is "belonging to Aku." These incredible Hebrew names were changed to the names of idols! That is exactly what the world wants to do to you. A name meant the identity of the person, their destiny and heritage. It was a part of the program of Babylon to cause the youth to forsake their culture and beliefs and adopt those of Babylon.

Who are you in Christ? What is the name He has given you? Converts of the first century changed their names upon conversion to match with their new identity. In heaven the overcomers will receive a white stone upon which is written their new name, an identity in God. Babylon was doing just the opposite. Can you see how the world would like to change your identity to that of one who belongs among them?

Consider: You will influence your world, or your world will influence you. Maintain your identity in Christ with firm resolve.