We live in a day when men and women who choose to follow the teachings and principles of scripture; can be portrayed as a bigot. However, true believers choose to follow their convictions regardless of the fallout. Jesus told us, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). That is what it means to be a committed follower of Christ.
I was thinking of Daniel this week, who was committed to his convictions and lived in a similar culture. He was just a young man when he was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar’s army. Upon arrival in Babylon, he was enrolled in academic training for three years to learn the language and literature of the Babylonians so that they could change his worldview. They started by changing Daniel’s name to Belteshazzar. They may have changed his name, but they didn’t change Daniel. They attempted to make him forget his faith but failed because Daniel remained faithful to his God.
I believe that when his parents gave him the name Daniel, they communicated what it meant: “God is my judge.” They always taught him to remember that God was the one he would ultimately give an account to, not man. These parents sent a sharp weapon into the land of Babylon when their son was taken captive.
Those committed to following the Scriptures must stand up against oppression, even coercion, from our own government. Let us take courage because if a man named Daniel remained true to his principles, we can too. Daniel’s name stuck through several successive kingdoms. It stuck because Daniel lived up to the meaning of his name. All those kings regarded him as Daniel and not by his Babylonian name.