President Obama, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego

It is no secret that many parents are outraged… Strike that… Many Christian/Conservative parents are outraged at President Obama’s National Address to students in public schools across America today. For weeks we’ve heard stories of brainwashing, indoctrination and purposeful targeting of the next generation.

Now, I must first admit that we have decided in our family to homeschool. This decision is one that was reached for a variety of reasons that I will not go into details here. I’m not entirely sure how I’d react to the President’s address if our girls were in public school. I can understand the fear that a lot of the parents are having with this situation. First off, we’re supposed to trust God and surrender those fears to Him. (See Max Lucado’s new book out today, Fearless)

tbs23But today, as I was continuing my reading through the Old Testament, I came to the book of Daniel. Talk about relevant. The first chapter of Daniel talks about when Babylon conquered Jerusalem and took many Jews captive to Babylon.

Talk about your premeditated brainwashing from the government and King Nebuchadezzar. He ordered these children who were taken captive to be attractive, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, and to have the ability to serve in the king’s palace. They were taken and and forced into three years of training. One note I found says that the foursome were probably 14-17 years in age. They were pulled away from everything they knew and were comfortable and were being forced to adapt to the new environment. The famous four “children” that were deported were Daniel, Hananiah (Shadrach) Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-Nego)

Not until I started reading this today, did I learn that the meaning of their new names were given to them so that they would be associated with Babylon’s false and local gods. They lost their names that had previously shown their loyalty to the God of Israel!

Daniel = “God is my judge”
Belteshazzar = “Bel Protect the King”

Hananiah = “The Lord is Gracious”
Shadrach = “Command of Aku”

Mishael = “Who is like the Lord?”
Meshach = “Who is what Aku is?”

Azariah = “the Lord is my Helper”
Abed-Nego = “Servant of Nego”

tbs22[It is interesting to me that I’ve always referred to Daniel by his Jewish name, but the other three by their pagan Babylonian names. Why is that?  This should not be. I will make an effort to learn their Jewish names and only refer to them by their real names from now on. I feel my years of VBS has failed me in this regard :)]

Even though all of this happened – the fact that brainwashing had been attempted on them, they never forsook their loyalty to God. They did not compromise their commitment to God. They did not eat the food that God’s law prohibited them from eating. Finally, when faced with the ultimate choice,  they stood firm with their beliefs that their God was the only true and living God.

If you don’t know the rest of the stories, God rescued Daniel from the lion’s den and he rescued  Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the fiery furnace. Chapters 3, 4, and 6 are amazing stories that tell the greatness of God. And that :

“There is No other God who can deliver like this” – Daniel 3:29

“He delivers and rescues and He works signs and wonders In heave and on earth.” – Daniel 6:27

These are well known children stories that are told in church (In fact I would bet that my 6 year old daughter actually does know the Jewish names) but ultimately these children had to make a stand on their own. They had to rely on the education that I’m sure was given to them by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles… They had to rely on their own faith instead of being consumed by fear. They trusted God to deliver them. But even if He would not deliver them, they still trusted in Him:

“But if not, let it be know to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image you have set up.” – Daniel 3:18

So…This post was not about President Obama. I am in no way inferring that President Obama is like Nebuchadezzar. In fact, I’ve read the speech that will be giving to the nation’s students. I personally think that conservative Christians have made this into a much bigger issue than it actually is. We have to teach our children that God’s Word is more important than any word a president will give.

If you have the time, read what Brian Haynes has to say about this specific issue on his blog. As Brian so eloquently writes, we must pray for President Obama. This is a much more effective plan of action for us conservative Christians than immediately boycotting something just because he is involved in it.

Hand that fear over to Him and only trust Him.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “President Obama, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego

  1. Hey Andy, it's Missy. I've never visited your blog so I decided to today. I knew that Pres. Obama was addressing the kids but I didn't know when. I don't watch the news and really only listen to on demand music unless I'm in the car and even then, I usually turn it when the news comes on. The reason is b/c I would obsess over the news and the "brainwashing" warnings when I homeschooled and it just added to my stress. So I still keep up, but I choose what to get detailed/take action on. So I find out this morning while taking my kids to their corresponding public schools. I'm not worried about what my 6 year old will think, she knows how we feel about Obama as far as his stance on God, but she also has been taught to respect adults in authority. Having her judge and "fear" him and not her teacher who voted for him (and therefore may share the same views) is pointless. Therefore, boycotting his one time speech when she could possibly get 'indoctrinated' by her teacher on a daily basis is futile. On the other hand, I asked my 13 year old what he thought and he asked me to write him an "opt out" letter and so I did. I made it his choice. He also knows how we feel b/c we freely talk to him about his beliefs and the balance of respecting authority and executing his rights to his faith. Either way, I'm not worried about it. We knew that they would face this and harder challenges in public school. I know it's not ideal, but what decision in raising kids is? We decided p.s. was the way to go this year considering lack of resources and other difficult circumstances that would prevent them from getting the education they needed at home at this time. So far so good, even in the hard questions that come our way due to things they hear or see at school.

    • Thanks for the visit, Missy. Great points. I like your point about the fact that they can be “indoctrinated” any day of the year. My point exactly. The folks who are raising the greatest stink about this whole thing are likely not that involved in their child’s education in the first place. As stated, we do homeschool. It is a year to year decision for us as a family at this point. Our goal is to build a solid foundation so that hopefully, when they have to make decisons, they will make ones that are honoring and pleasing to God.

      Come visit the blog again. I like conversations!