Monday, January 11, 2010

Friends We All Need in 2010!

(Do You Have Friends Like Daniel?)

I was thinking about Daniel, “a man greatly beloved” of God (Daniel 10:11). In Hebrew, “beloved” means not only “great delight” and “great desire” but also “delectable.” Wow, Daniel’s life was actually delectable to God. What amazing favor. Tears filled my eyes because my heart yearned for my own life to be “delectable” to God.

As I looked more closely at Daniel’s life, I read about his three friends, and the Lord showed me something truly exciting. We know Daniel’s friends as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - the names they were given in captivity in Babylon. Their not-so-famous Hebrew names were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. As I studied the Hebrew translations and meanings of these names, I discovered what kind of friends Daniel had, the kind we all need: friends who want passionately to follow Jesus.

Hananiah means: The Lord is Gracious
Mishael means: The Lord is my help
Azariah means: Who is Like our God?

Just imagine! Their very names held the messages those friends needed to give one another when all three were cast into the fiery furnace (Daniel 3). Their names described the gracious, incomparable, helping God who showed up in the furnace as the fourth man. The Lord, who walked in the fiery furnace with them, was the embodiment of all three of their names!!!

Do you have friends that remind you that the Lord is gracious (Jehovah-raah), that He is our helper (El Shaddai), and that He is an incomparable God (El Elyon)? As we associate with others, we become a reflection of those with whom we spend time (Amos 3:3; Proverbs 13:20). Can people in your life see that you have been hanging out with friends like those Daniel had?

I want to be like Daniel’s friends.

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had their names changed by the Babylonian captors but their captors couldn’t change their hearts - their hearts remained passionately committed to their Incomparable God. I pray that you and I will be a reminder of God’s gracious, incomparable help to those who know us - especially to those who are about to go into a fiery trial.

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