Daniel’s name was changed to Belteshazzar.
Hananiah’s name was changed to Shadrach.
Mishael’s name was changed to Meshach.
Azariah’s name was changed to Abenego.
During Judah’s time in Babylonian captivity, Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon ordered these name changes in an effort to strip these noble men of their identity as members of the tribe of Judah (Daniel 1:7). Their new names suggested a change in status. Nebuchadnezzar’s ultimate goal was to shift the religious loyalty of these young men from Judah’s God to Babylonia’s god.
In the book of Daniel we find out something interesting about these men.
They refused to heed to the king and his commands, they did not serve the king’s gods, and they refused to worship the golden statue the king himself had set up. The penalty for their actions was death.
Basically, these men decided that Nebuchadnezzar could change their names but he could not change who they were.
At one point, these men were told to fall down and worship a golden statue or be thrown into a blazing furnace. Their response was, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in these matters. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:15-18).
They knew the truth: They were still royalty. They were still loved by God. They were still God’s chosen people.
Has your name been changed? Has a circumstance come along threatening to strip you of your true identity?
Maybe you’ve changed from dating to dumped. From married to divorced. From employed to unemployed. From aspiring motherhood to “considering other options.” From one size to a different size. From what you planned to what ended up happening after all, despite your plan.
The good news is we do not need to defend ourselves before anyone in these matters. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace of unfavorable circumstances, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us. But even if He does not, we want all to know that we will not serve the gods of this world or worship the images of golden popularity, fortune, and pride that have been set up all around us.
Because we are still royalty. We are still loved by God. We are still God’s chosen people.
In the face of change, remain loyal to the God who has crowned you, loved you, and chosen you.
Don’t let a change change your mind about who God says you are.