In Shakespeare’s play, Juliet asks: ‘what’s in a name?’ She continues by saying that a rose by any other name would smell the same. How true! We also know that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me’! Not true! When I was attending elementary school, we had all kinds of nicknames for each other. Some not so enviable! Like ‘Goofy’ or ‘Wacky’, or ‘Hunker’ (as I was called). I was chunky then…and more so now! I didn’t like that name. Felt ashamed of myself. Still remember those bad feelings decades and decades later as if thrown at me yesterday. Names not hurting? Who are they kidding. Bones can heal. Name-calling leaves bitter scars. You remember some?
Wonder how Daniel and his three friends felt when they were given different names. In Daniel 1, we discover that these special men were taken into exile in foreign Babylon. Involuntarily given names that no longer give praise to Yahweh God, but ones that honor the false gods of Bel, Marduk, Aku, and Nego. These four were forced to break God’s commandment to have no other gods before Him. This was not their choice. Was imposed on them.
No longer simply giving praise to Yahweh God by their name alone. Broke these men’s hearts. At this time, in our society, it’s obvious that to name the name of Jesus, will cause us trouble. Scorned, laughed at…condemned. Name-calling like ‘bigot’, ‘intolerant’, ‘narrow-minded’. What are we to do? Give in and fit in? I know you better than that!
Daniel 1: 8– ‘But Daniel resolved not to…’ That word ‘resolved’ in the original Hebrew means to be determined, committed in heart and mind, to not give in. Hard to control societal pressures. Probably can’t at all. But we can, inside ourselves, resolve to remember all that the Lord has done for us, all that He is in Himself. That God calls us by new godly names. He calls us His friends(John 15:15). His chosen ones(Deuteronomy 7:6).
I won’t be chunky forever for I am chosen of the Lord! His good names for us will last into eternity. ‘There IS a new name written down in glory and it’s mine’… and yours too!
Prayer: It is so good of you, dear Lord, to give us new names in Jesus your Son. We stand with Him no matter what. Amen.