Theme of the Week: The Key to Flourishing
Bible Verse: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names: Daniel was called Belteshazzar. Hananiah was called Shadrach. Mishael was called Meshach. Azariah was called Abednego. Daniel 1:6-7
Scripture Reading: Daniel 1:1-7
Four Hebrew young men from the same tribe, the royal family line of David, are taken into captivity by an invading Babylonian Empire. The goal was to immerse and integrate the captives into all that Babylonian culture entailed; the first order of business was to rename them.
The Hebrew names of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah became Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, respectively. Imagine the pain of having to change your email addresses, ID cards, and hockey jerseys! Something grave, however, was happening here. Names carried much significance in ancient times, individually and spiritually. Each of their names contained a portion of the name of their God (“El” and “Yah”), while their new designations were associated with the pagan gods of Babylon.
This action was by design. It was an attempt to deconstruct their heritage, beliefs, and identity by indoctrinating them in the values of the empire and making them into just “one of the boys.”
We may not be a physical exile, but the pull of culture and the pain of circumstances can have a similar effect on us today. We may have had things done to us or said about us in the past that have relabeled us and affected the way we view ourselves. Maybe the pain of our current circumstances has given us a view of ourselves that is much less than who God created us to be. Understanding our identity in Christ is essential for flourishing.
In chapter 10, when Daniel was overwhelmed and underconfident in who he was and what he had to do, this word came to him: “Daniel, you are very precious to God” (v. 11). We are sons of God, chosen, redeemed, destined for an amazing future, and we are VERY precious to Him! Start this week by rehearsing your identity in Him. That is how we begin to flourish!
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