Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Hananiah, Mis...

You know how you can read a passage of Scripture a hundred times and learn something new each of those times?  Well, the kids that I teach ask really good questions so I like to anticipate their questions and study more than just the lesson.  And I learned something really neat that every parent will appreciate.

The lesson this time was about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  I knew that when these teenagers arrived in Babylon from Judah that they were given new names, but I hadn’t noticed before what those names meant.  Or what their original names had meant.  This is what’s really neat.  Their parents gave them names that had to do with God, the one true God, which means that their parents were probably teaching them about God and encouraging them to follow Him.  We know that these young men knew the one true God.  Here are the names that their parents gave them:

Hananiah:  Yahweh is gracious.

Mishael:  Who is what God is?

Azariah:  Yahweh is a helper.

Now look at their names given to them in Babylon:

Shadrach:  I am very fearful of God or Command of Aku (the moon god).

Meshach:  I am of little account or Who is like Aku?

Abednego:  Servant of the shining one (Nebo, a Babylonian god).

The leaders of Babylon must have wanted these young men to forget their God and worship the false gods of Babylon, but would they?  No.  Even when persecuted by being thrown into a very hot, fiery furnace made for baking bricks, they still stood up for God.  They said that no matter what would happen, they would worship only the one true God.  Go Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego!

Here’s what is really neat to me.  (Well, besides the whole amazing true story.)  Sometimes we as parents can wonder if our children are listening to us, but we can know that they are.  We can teach our children about God, train them in godly ways and encourage them to live for God and to stand up for Him.  And when we need to let them go we can continue to pray for them.  I’m sure the parents of those three teenagers were praying for their sons while they were in Babylon.  And just like in Babylon, when our culture encourages our kids to forget about their God and choose the ways of the world, they will have the courage to choose to trust God to help them as they stand up for Him and for what is right.  Just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

* The name information is from the ESV Study Bible.