All in a Name


“Imagine you’re at their graduation hearing their name announced as they are walking to receive their diploma. If it sounds good in your head it’s a good name.” These were the wise words of one of my sisters-in-law many years ago as we sat talking about baby names.

Names are important to us. Our name lets others know how to address us. For years my name was very uncommon and many people would mispronounce my name with an ‘a’ at the end. Actually, it still happens all these years later. There has only been one person in my life that I have chosen not to correct and that was my husband’s grandmother.

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility–Daniel 1:3.

Names have been important throughout Biblical history. There were four men from the tribe of Judah, who found themselves in Babylonian captivity during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. These men were considered builders of each of their family’s name. Their names were Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael.

Before long the king’s chief of staff (it always tickles me when a term we use in our modern day vernacular was already established thousands of years ago!) renamed these men with Babylonian names. Some suggest that each of their new names represented a Babylonian god.

Further into this story these four re-named men found themselves bound and thrown in a blazing furnace that was heated seven times hotter than normal because they refused to bow down to a golden idol Nebuchadnezzar had erected. They remained faithful in their relationship with God choosing Him alone.


God is my judge, God has been gracious, God has helped me, who is what God is?

The names of these four men was and is important. Daniel means God is my judge; Hananiah means God has been gracious; Azariah means God has helped me; and Mishael means who is what God is? 

When they were in the blazing furnace it was God who judged them righteous. It was God who was gracious to them. It was God who helped them. And it was God who reminded Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians that no thing and no one is Who God Is.

It was God who saved them fully and completely. May you deeply desire to live by the example of these four men of Israel and the tribe of Judah; the lineage of Jesus, who sought God first and refused to bow down to any idol. And may you know that whatever your given name is, He calls you, “Beloved.”