She is the only one I never corrected even though my husband would gently remind her. My husbands grandmother would always call me Teresa rather than Terese.
Our names are important to us. Our names let others know how to address us. And while our names are not our identity, they are our identifier.
During ancient Israelite culture names were very important. Parents chose names, many times, to coincide with a season of life they may have been in.
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah. Daniel 1:1a.
Jehoiakim’s name means the LORD raises up. How amazing it must have been for Jehoiakim to go through life with his name as a constant reminder of who he was and Who he belonged too. It get’s better. Jehoiakim’s name is derived from the name YHVH which is the proper name of God.
You and I, we may not have a name that means the LORD raises up and we don’t have to. As a believer in Jesus you are called, His child. He raises you up simply because He loves you. You don’t have to do anything in your own strength. It is the power of Holy Spirit that propels you in the direction He wants you to move. It is YHVH in you and through you.
We do have a responsibility when we are called a child of God. Our responsibility is nurturing a deep and intimate relationship with Him. Stay connected to Him and meet Him in His word daily.
Today I encourage you to read Daniel 1:1-2 and ask God to open your eyes to what He wants to reveal to you and how He wants you to apply this to your life. How will His revelations help you to grow in Christlike behavior?
I often marvel at the grace and humbleness of royal families that are in the news frequently. They always seem to have a smile on their face and always seem to be kind to the press and paparazzi even as our culture has an odd sense of curiosity about them. They always seem mindful of their behavior upholding the family name.
Johoiakim was king of Judah during a period of time when Nebuchadezzar, king of Babylon took Judah captive. Nebuchadezzar ordered his chief of court to gather Israelite men from the royal family and place them in Nebuchadezzar’s service.
These royal men were builders of their family name. Through them the continuance of the Nation of Israel would be born.
Likewise, every believer in Jesus, the moment they believe, becomes a part of this ancient royal family. We may not wear crowns, and robes, and jewels of old and we may not be followed incessantly by the press and photographers. But we are royalty. We are sons and daughters of the Most High King. We are princes and princesses in the kingdom of God.
We have a royal duty and responsibility to not only build our heavenly family name but to bear our family name with integrity. To be honest, kind, gracious and humble. To practice forgiveness and learn how to hold one another accountable for Christlike behavior. Please don’t misinterpret. Accountability does not mean we are better than each other. Accountability is loving one another in Jesus and learning His characteristics together.
Accountability requires discipleship which is critical to a believer’s life. When we are open to be discipled and to disciple we grow together in our faith. We enter into community with one another and allow ourselves to ask our core circle of friends to hold us accountable.
I am blessed by a group of women who hold me accountable. They have no problem speaking truth, sometimes hard truth into my life. I welcome their voice in my life. They help keep me from tumbling down the rabbit hole of spiritual darkness.
Accountability partners. Don’t leave home without them.
Today’s reading is Daniel 1:3-4. Ask God for His revelation and journal any words, impressions or thoughts. Meditate and pray on these.
Their names were changed. Have you ever done a name change? When I was thirteen I added the name Marie to my middle name. When I applied for my driver’s license I added my second middle name to my license, without question or legal proof of the addition. Times were much different when I was 16!
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 1:7 NIV
Nebuchadnezzar took these four noble men of Israel, not coincidentally, from the lineage of Jesus, the tribe of Judah, and fed them daily delicacies from his own kitchen. He placed them in training for three years at which time they would serve the king. But, he changed their names.
But God had named them first.
- Daniel’s name means God is my judge.
- Hananiah’s name means God has been gracious.
- Mishael’s name means who is what God is?
- Azariah’s name means God has helped me.
As mentioned earlier, they were in training for three years before they would begin to serve the king. It can be like that in our life at times. We feel, sense, hear God’s call and anointing on our life but there is preparation to do.
When God calls us to His will for our life He begins by training us. Sometimes training is short and sometimes it can be a long process. He is always gracious and kind to show us each next step when He feels we are ready to move on.
Many times training involves an assessment of our heart by us. Perhaps there are things we are to confess and repent of so we can receive God’s healing and deliverance.
Training reminds us to be patient and wait for God to move. Many times easier said than done. However, we can trust that He has His will for our life under control. Our responsibility is to do only what he shows us regardless of all our wonderful ideas! As God trains us He opens doors of opportunity for us according to His timing and not any sooner.
Like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, who identified with the tribe of Judah, our identity is in Jesus the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
Nebuchadnezzar had their names changed to those of Babylonian god’s. As if that would cause them to disobey God. Their Hebrew names say it all, especially later in their story when they would find themselves in a fiery furnace.
- God judged them worthy and righteous not to die.
- God was gracious to them.
- God helped them.
- God reminded Nebuchadnezzar that no one is like God!
Our faithfulness is to God alone. These four men are excellent examples of a life lived believing in and trusting God. And we can be confident that whatever name the enemy calls us. God calls us His.
Today’s reading is Daniel 1:5-7.
Deep red and thick with the fragrance of fresh herbs and spices with an aroma so enticing my family and I would sneak dips of french bread into its richness while it was still cooking on the stove. But she knew, my momma always knew right when we were dipping and would call out, “Put the lid down.” Every Sunday my momma made her delicious homemade spaghetti sauce with enough pasta to feed an army and we welcomed whomever stopped by to enjoy a feast with us. Most Sunday’s she made meatballs to add to her sauce but every once in a while she added freshly made Italian sausage from my cousin’s store. Her oil and vinegar salad dressing was always perfect. She didn’t measure out the oil or vinegar she just knew by taste. My momma loved to cook, she was an excellent cook and baker and loved when her table was full with others enjoying the feast she prepared.
While Daniel and his friends were in captivity the king had ordered they be fed from his own house; the royal food and wine. Daniel was not about to allow himself and his friends to be sullied by the king’s food that most likely included meat, fish, lamb, fowl and nuts, fruit and vegetables along with the wine to drink.
Many times other things look much tastier than what is already on our table. When what is on our table is from God nothing else compares in taste, smell, texture and satisfaction. God offers us food and drink that will never spoil regardless of how tasty something looks elsewhere.
We do have a choice to make. Will we choose what appears royally pleasing to the eye with aromas that seem delectable or will we choose the feast God has placed before us continually satiating our hunger?
The chief official charged with overseeing Daniel and his friends was afraid that if he allowed them to forego the royal food and wine the king would punish him. Nonetheless, God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to them.
God does the same for us. He causes others to show us favor and sympathy which is a beautifully tangible reminder to us that His favor rests upon us simply because we have chosen Him and we are His kids!
As we stay connected to God [remembering there is no perfect way to spend time with Him except to ask Holy Spirit what that looks like for you on any given day] we don’t need to be concerned about fear. Jesus defeated fear and as we stand in His love for us fear has no chance at all.
Royal food and drink—we have no need because the Lord directs our steps directly to where His provision waits for us.
Today’s reading Daniel 1:8-10.
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