No one has authority to name you – but God.
When Daniel was exiled to Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar immersed Daniel in Babylonian culture. It was a brainwashing exercise. But Daniel couldn’t be brainwashed. To cap it off, the Babylonian king assigned a new name to Daniel and his friends. But, for the rest of the biblical story, Daniel is never Belteshazzar – he remains Daniel.
The capacity to see into the nature of what someone or something really is, and to call it by the correct name, is essential for all wisdom and effectiveness in life. If you can’t see what or who something or someone is, then you don’t know how to be a steward over it.
If I were to visit the hospital and was recognized by a nurse who said, “Oh Pastor, I’m glad you’re here. A family is going through a difficult time and they need someone to pray with them,” I would say, “Thank you. Yes, I’m ready to be with them.” However, if the nurse had me confused with a physician and said, “Oh doctor, I’m glad you’re here. This man needs emergency surgery,” then I’d run for the hills!
If you call me Doctor, you’re missing who I am. If you call me Pastor, I’ll flow right into it. In other words, you can move me by knowing who I am.
It’s frustrating, unwise and dangerous when we call something by the wrong name. If someone is called by the wrong name and believes it, destiny is disrupted.
Daniel is a beautiful name. It means “God is my Judge.” The Babylonian king changed it to “Belteshazzar” which means “Oh lady, wife of the god Bel, protect the king.” But, throughout the story, Daniel remains Daniel. Sometimes he is referred to as “Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar.” The name Daniel, “God is my Judge,” reminds us on every page that Nebuchadnezzar has no final say – God does. The pagan culture may try to label you, but you must resist the world’s names. Listen only to God. You’re a child of God. That’s what He calls you, so that’s who you are in Christ forever. And that’s the Gospel!