Word for the day by Christian Education Forum


(Daniel 1: 1-9)

Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the King's food or with the wine he drank. So, he asked permission from the chief eunuch not to defile himself. God had granted Daniel kindness and compassion from the chief eunuch (vs. 8, 9).

The sacred writer narrates an edifying story that his fictional situates at the heroic moment of the captivity in Babylon. Thereupon a time four young men who had been forcibly taken to the court of king Nebuchadnezzar, and whom this king wanted to convert to a Gentile way of life.  

1. Their name changed not their identity 
Changing one's name is a way of changing one's identity. In this way, they were forced to be Babylonians. Let's see the names given to them. 
New Names - When these young men arrived in Babylon, they came carrying wonderful names. Each name carried with it a testimony to the person of God. Daniel - God is my judge, Hananiah - God is gracious, Mishael - God is without equal, Azariah - The Lord is my helper. 

When they arrived in Babylon, they were given new names. Daniel became Belteshazzar - Which means,  "Bel will protect."Hananiah became Shadrach - Which means, "Inspiration of the Sun."Mishael became  Meshach - Which means, "Belonging to Aku."Azariah became Abednego - Which means, "Servant of  Nego."Nebuchadnezzar's goal was to change their identity and hopefully their way of thinking. However,  it is plain to see as one reads the book of Daniel, that even though their names were changed their character remained intact. (Ill. The world and the devil will try every tactic to force us to fit into their mold. However, no matter what they say to us, call us, do to us or throw at us in life, they will never be able to change what we are, 1 John 3:1-2. We must never forget that we are the twice-born children of the living God! 

2. They could change their diet but not their hearts 
A New Diet - All their lives. These four young men had lived by the dietary laws handed down by the  Lord. Now, they are faced with new food. Most likely, this food was unclean, by Jewish standards, and most of the meat had probably been sacrificed to idols. Therefore, it would have defiled these men and made them unclean before the Lord. As Christians, we too are faced with choices that run contrary to the best that God has purposed for us. There are decisions about our choice of entertainment, the music we listen to, and choices in our personal relationships. We are confronted daily with choices to either do or not do certain things that can cause us to be defiled. Now, I am saved, and nothing will ever change that! But the choices I make in life can either build me up or tear me down as a servant of God. I can never be lost again, but I can become defiled and put on the shelf by God, 1 Cor. 9:27. Therefore, it is extremely important that we constantly guard ourselves in this matter of what we take into our lives.  (Ill. David had a good plan - Psa. 101:3) 

I don't hesitate to examine seriously what seems most ordinary like the details in my dress, the knick-knacks I wear around my neck, my shopping, the organization of my weekends, my tastes, my choice of media, ... Yes, in all these, my faithfulness to God may be at stake.

The thesis which Daniel tries to prove is that: those who follow the Law of God are not the worse for it. That's why Saint Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6: 19,20 “Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a  price. So, glorify God with your body.” Faith must not seem restrictive, alienating, and sad, to our fellow non-Christians. Faith is the best means for men and women to be real successes.  

Lord, I take this occasion, to ask myself what visage of Christian faith I show to those who see how I live. Please cast away anything ungodly in me and make it your home. Grant me the power to preserve its holiness. Amen

Mrs Nissy Cherian
The Mar Thoma Church Staten Island

 Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church

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