Summary: The ability of God and the faith of His people must merge and integrate in order to experience the miraculous.
This particular passage of Scripture extracted out of the Holy and Righteous Word of God—deals definitively with three boys of Hebrew origin of Jewish descent and ancestry. It was after the Babylonian army had spread its empire from India to Ethiopia—that Jerusalem (the place of peace; the holy city of God) had already been sacked and the nation of Israel had been robbed of its best and brightest minds, that these three boys who were known in their hood as Mishael, Hananiah, and Azariah—were taken into bondage and slavery. According to the Afrocentric-semitic tradition of their day, each child’s name bore a special, spiritual, and divine significance—such that each time that their name was mouthed, it was a VERBAL reminder of the goodness and grace of Almighty God. Their names were designed to MEAN something. Consequently, in that tradition—these three Hebrew boys were given names that bore significance in relationship to the depth of the faith of their family, tradition, and ancestral lineage.
- Hananiah meant JEHOVAH IS GRACIOUS
- Mishael meant GOD IS OUR RESEMBLANCE
- Azariah meant JEHOVAH IS MY HELPER
• Their names meant something—and, by the way, I need everybody to understand and agree—your name ought to mean something too.
So let me ask you: WHAT DO PEOPLE THINK ABOUT WHEN THEY HEAR YOUR NAME?
• Are they irritated or inspired?
• Are they helped or are they harmed?
• Are they encouraged or exasperated?
These three Hebrew boys were captured and carried from the hills of Jerusalem and taken, in shackles, to the lowlands of Babylon. They were brought there as slaves; and yet because of their combined and cumulative ingenuity, creativity and initiative, they were quickly elevated from being captives into being courtiers in the king’s service.
It was a customary part of the indoctrination of the empire whenever people were enslaved to CHANGE their names and thereby, disconnected them from their history, their heritage, and their hope.
- Because, whether you know it or not, history, heritage, and hope are all connected.
• It teaches us that if we don’t know our HISTORY, we will have no sense of our HERITAGE. And if we are unaware of our HERITAGE then ultimately we will have no HOPE.
• You have to know where you ARE in order to have an insight of where you are GOING.
And that is why everything from your past is intricately connected to where you are right now; and can become the platform that becomes the stage that sets you up to where God is sending you TO as a direct correlation of what the Lord brought you THROUGH.
• Be careful how you try to cancel out where you’ve been…because God can use where you’re FROM to set your shout and your testimony of what and where HE is trying to take you TO!
- Born on the wrong side of the tracks; baby out of wedlock; the hurt, the pain, the mistakes, the missteps, the infidelity, the divorce, the embarrassment and humiliation; the people who walked out; the loss; the divorce, the eviction, the layoff, the setback—every failure—YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHERE YOU ARE FROM IN ORDER TO GET A GRIP ON WHERE YOU ARE GOING, WHERE THE LORD IS SENDING YOU TO!!!
• Be careful at how you curse your past in the face of your present—because it can bless your future!!!
Your heritage and your history can help you to see clearly where you are. And these three Hebrew boys were given NEW names in the land of their captivity and came to be known as Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego.
But though their names were changed—they remembered the meaning of the names they received in their heritage.
- Hananiah(God is gracious) to Shadrach meant UNDER THE COMMAND OF AKU (the Babylonian moon god)
- Mishael (God is our resemblance) to Meshach meant WHO IS LIKE AKU (the Babylonian moon god)
- Azariah (God is my helper) to Abednego meant SERVANT OF THE GODS
• They weren’t tripping over a label or a tag—they remember WHO they were and WHO’s they were.
• Deliver me from people who get hung up on titles
• People who try to be in name who they are not by function and reality
You can TALK that TALK…but if you can’t WALK the WALK that you TALK…your title means nothing at all.
- You don’t have to keep announcing you’re a Christian—BE a Christian!
- You don’t have to keep telling people you own a business—just run your business!
- You don’t have to keep reminding everybody you’re a preacher/pastor/deacon/leader/president of this and that…all of that really doesn’t matter—what are you doing with your life, witness, testimony and your function?
When they left the hills of Judah as captives, they were forced to leave all of their possessions behind—