Episode 16: Do You Know Who You Are?

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Life. It happens in seasons. Just as God appoints times and boundaries for the seasons in a calendar year, I believe that He also appoints a time in our lives for certain seasons to begin and end. They serve a purpose and are a part of a greater whole. For most of my growing up years, I was, for lack of a better word, timid. This is a quality that lasted into my young adult life. As I entered my 20’s, I found myself in a really unhealthy relationship. Worse than that, it was rather abusive. Without going into too much detail, I’ll just call it a season of my life. It served a purpose. And, to be honest, it served as a defining part of my life as I shifted from timid to…determined. Determined not to be a door mat again. Determined not to be used, taken advantage of, or taken for granted. It was, in fact, the first time in my life I asked myself if my situation was one that God would want for His daughter. The answer was a resounding “No”. Of course not. And by that standard, I began to see myself in a new light. By that standard, I started to really consider myself God’s child, a daughter whom He loved and delighted in. This season shaped the perspective I believe God wanted me to have all along. I was a daughter of the King. Beloved and chosen. That leads me to you the question…who are you? Do you know who you are…in God? Knowing the answer to that - really knowing it deep in your heart - it will change your life. Let me give you an example of a few people in the Bible who knew the answer to this profound question. Starting in Daniel, let’s read about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The first chapter notes that one of the first things the Babylonians did was rename the exile boys they had taken captive. It was customary to give new names to slaves. In a nutshell, it reminder that their identity was stripped and this was meant to remind them of the new position in life they found themselves in. Essentially, it was an effort to erase their past. In this passage, there are four Judahites mentioned BY name. Daniel. Hananiah. Mishael. And Azariah. These were their given names at birth. In Hebrew, this is how they translate: Daniel - God is my judge. Hananiah - Yahweh is gracious. Mishael - Who is like God? Azariah - Yahweh has helped. These were some strong names. Immediately, the chef eunuch gave them new names. Belteshazzar - Protect the life of the king. Shadrach - Command of Aku (Babylonian moon god). Meshach - Who is like Aku. Abednego - Servant of Nebo (Babylonian god of wisdom). These new names spoke volumes in terms of what the Babylonian’s intent was. They intended to erase the old identity of these young men and turn them into servants of THEIR culture and their gods. I just wanted to point out this development before we move on. I’ll read the rest of the story through chapter 3. There are so many lessons to pull out of this incredible series of events. But today, I wanted to point out a truth that is so practical. These men knew who they were. More than that, these men never forgot who they were. Facing an outraged king, these men stood before his question “who is the god who can rescue you from my power?”. And their names answered… Yahweh is gracious. Who is like God? Yahweh has helped. And though he was not there, Daniel’s name, meaning “God is my judge” also rang forth from their demeanor. They stood unflinching in the face of radical pressure. Radical politics. Radical culture. They stood, knowing who they were and Whose they were. What a testament. They had no way of knowing God would rescue them, and indeed, they were still thrown in the furnace. But they weren’t alone in it. And they came out unscathed. Not even smelling of smoke. I have to believe that God LOVES standing by His children as they stand in truth. Stand in the knowledge that they are His and, therefore have freedom from the pressures of anything else.

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