Today’s Scripture: He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Psalm 24:4-5

Daniel and His friends had very significant names, names with meanings so convicting that the Babylonians could not even stomach hearing them. In fact, each of their names ended in either the suffix -el which refers to Elohim or the suffix -iah which is short for Yahweh. As part of the effort to reprogram these young men, their Godly names were stripped from them and replaced with names reflecting pagan deities. Daniel and his three friends were part of a minority surrounded by a majority of pagans and people who literally worshipped Satan. Sorcerers, astrologers, and diviners were the advisors of King Nebuchadnezzar.

Hebrew name                            Babylonian name
Daniel-meaning: God is my judge               Belteshazzar-meaning: Bel protects his life
Hananiah-meaning: God has been gracious         Shadrach-meaning: Aku’s command
Mishael-meaning: Who is what God is?         Meshach-meaning: Who is what Aku is?
Azariah-meaning: God has helped                       Abednego-meaning: servant of Nebo

Even though their names were changed, they remained resolute. The name change was designed to infiltrate their thinking. Every time they were called by their new names, it would serve as a reminder of what was expected of them by all those around them.

Believer, people are going to try to change you. The fact that you don’t drink, dance, swear, or smoke, convicts them. They will do whatever they can to get you to give up your convictions. It takes courage to stay pure! Don’t join the temptation to go with the flow. Take a moment to consider this: Is fitting in here in this sinful place worth giving up blessings you will have for all eternity in heaven? Is the approval of this selfish world worth more than the approval of the One Who died for you?

You may work in an unsaved environment day in and day out. You come home exhausted and discouraged from your efforts of trying to stay unspotted from the unsaved while still trying to reach out to them with the gospel. Maybe you come from an unsaved family. You love them but they try to fit you in their worldly box, and when you don’t fit, they treat you as nothing more than an acquaintance. Like Daniel and his friends, you serve the one true God and in the end, that will make every discomfort here on earth worth the while. Despite the people surrounding you, stay strong in the Lord. Live each moment empowered by the knowledge that He is the only One whose opinion really counts.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.