What’s in a Name?


Name BadgeIn Daniel chapter 1 Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem carrying away the best and brightest young men of Israel and the holy vessels from the temple. He determined to assimilate these young men into the Babylonian culture by requiring them to learn the language by copying their religious texts.  Secondly Nebuchadnezzar renamed the young men he took captive.  Nebuchadnezzar was on a mission to obliterate any ties they had to God, Yahweh, Elohim – The One True God.


  • Daniel = God is my judge / changed to Beltashazzar = the god Bel, protect the king
  • Hananiah = Yahweh is gracious / changed to Shadrach = I am very fearful of Aku
  • Mishael = Who is what God is? / changed to Meshach = Who is like Aku?
  • Azariah = Yahweh is a helper / changed to Abednego = servant of the shining one, Nebo


When Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah faced the destruction of the temple of the God of Israel, when they were carried away captive – their captors changed their names and defiled the holy vessels by putting them to use in the temples of their gods.

Their captors wanted to convince them that God did not have them, keep them or help them.

Like Solomon’s temple that was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, those of us who are wounded have experienced the same principles of captivity.

The beauty of the image of God, placed within our temples, has been marred and often sacrificed to other gods. Instead of Bel, Aku and Nebo we have Lust, Greed, Power, Judgment, Shame and Control (and the list goes on.)

Have you ever thought that Satan tried to rename you?

I am certain of this, our wounds fight for the right to rename us.

Maybe your name has become:


  • Worthless, used up, disposable
  • Not worth fighting for
  • Of no account
  • Easy to ignore, overlooked, hidden
  • Good for nothing


My name, Cheryl Rae, means “courageous lamb.”

Growing up in an abusive Christian home I began to internalize that I was counted as a sheep for the slaughter.  That my significance came in sacrifice.

When I began to heal, God took me back to the meaning of my name.  He assured me Jesus Christ was the only sheep required for slaughter.  He was the sacrifice my abusers needed, not me.

God did not ask me to pay the price for my abuser… He had done that already.

To be a courageous lamb is to see that I am the lamb sticking close to the shepherd, the sheep who hears the Shepherd’s voice, knows and follows him.  I am the lamb who has learned to lay down next to the lion in peace, the courageous lamb.


Have you ever asked God what he calls you?


He calls you:

  • Beloved
  • Dear one
  • Precious
  • One whom I adore
  • The one who causes me to sing
  • More valuable than rubies
  • My bride


Though Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were called different and defiling names – they did not live according to the names given by their captors.  I have a sneaking suspicion that every time someone called to Beltashazzar, inside he would say – “I am Daniel – God is my judge.”


Listen for the voice of God softly calling…


I hear with gentleness – “Come my courageous lamb.”


What does He call you?



5 responses to “What’s in a Name?

  1. God also redeemed my name. I was told why I was named as I was by my parents for reasons that nothing to do with the actual meaning of my name. They chose the Russian nickname because the first female astronaut was a Russian named Tatiana (for which Tanya is a nickname). My father was an airforce officer working on the Space rocket launch pad at the time of my birth.

    During my healing process God prompted me look up the meaning of my name. In Russian Tanya means “Worthy of praise/ praiseworthy”. It was ironic and healing to realize that my little girl self who felt she was never good enough–was repeatedly called praiseworthy. God knew the meaning of my name and He healed my mistaken labels for myself that I gleaned in an abusive home. I wasn’t worthless. I wasn’t not good enough. I was praiseworthy and God delighted in me and in my willingness to walk with Him.

    God is an amazing redeemer. He sees the real person we are and as He heals us from abuse, he helps us to see ourselves in His light of truth.

    • Tanya – What a wonderful story of God’s redemption for you too! I am so glad God has brought us together! Though both of our stories contain the healing from abuse, it also applies to those who deal with chronic illnesses, chronic pain, or broken relationships with parents, spouses or kids. Even those who are experiencing infertility… can all feel that they have been renamed. BUT GOD (quickly becoming my two favorite words) is always seeking to speak the truth to us.

      Praying that others are hearing their redeemed names on His lips today!

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