“Then the commander of the officials assigned new names to them; and to Daniel he assigned the name Belteshazzar, to Hananiah Shadrach, to Mishael Meshach and to Azariah Abed-nego. But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank” (Daniel 1:7-8a).
Though their Hebrew names were changed to representations from the vast panorama of Babylonian gods, Daniel and his three companions offered no protest. They knew these were false gods and that their identity rested in the one true God. Where they would not compromise, however, was in biblical principle and the clear dictates of scripture regarding dietary laws; what was then a vital part of how God’s faithful distinguished themselves as a uniquely called out people. It’s a lesson for those who would allow their understanding and practice of the life of faith to be hijacked by those watchdog fringe elements that demonize and concern themselves with such things as corporate logos, certain politicians, holidays, and children’s books. What a tragedy; to take a rich, vibrant, robust, historical faith and to reduce it down to something silly and superstitious. Like Daniel, a wise faith understands the difference between religious superstition and biblical principle.