Daniel’s parents chose a Hebrew name for their son meaning “God is my judge,” testifying of their faith in the one, true God. But when Daniel was a young man—around 13 or 14—Jerusalem was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and Daniel and many others were taken into captivity. In short order, Daniel’s name was changed by his captors, most likely in an attempt to erase the connection to Daniel’s Hebrew heritage and to the true God to whom his name referred. Daniel explains, in Daniel 1:6, that his new name became Belteshazzar. Daniel’s name went from “God is my Judge” to being called “Bel” one of the Babylonian gods.
Daniel maintained a vibrant faith in God despite living and working in an ungodly culture surrounded by unbelievers. Believe it or not, Daniel was eventually made the chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners (Daniel 5:11). He was in charge of all these men (Daniel 2:48), which sounds like they were not just his colleagues, they may actually have answered to him. Did they share his faith in God? Of course not. They looked to other things for their false power and were involved in practices that were forbidden by God (Leviticus 19:26).
What does it take to live uncompromisingly for God in a Godless environment? From the time Daniel arrived in Babylon, the pressure was on to be indoctrinated into the Babylonian culture.
And yet despite all the brainwashing, Daniel stayed true to the faith of his fathers, living and working (and even thriving) in that culture without letting it undermine his relationship with God.
Our culture today pressures us as well to conform to the culture and not to the Biblical worldview. Daniel challenges us to be uncompromising when living a holy life in a pagan culture. At some point in this indoctrination Daniel took a stand and “made up his mind” to obey God more than man. This made Daniel highly favored by God and then others. But it took moral courage to do this, the one ingredient missing in many men today. Pastor Mark