More Than a Name
Mar 22, 2023 | 6 min read | Josh Yates
What is the name again? Josiah's adventure? Josiah Venture? Who is Josiah? What is a venture?
Have you ever tried to explain the name of Josiah Venture to your friends, churches or a stranger you just met? I am sure I am not the only one who has received several questions about our name. As a new teammate to this incredible family (with all sincerity), I've had to do some research to understand the meaning of our name better.
For starters, the Hebrew meaning of Josiah is: God has healed. Simple enough. Thank you, Google, for helping me, but there is more…
Venture means: a risky or daring journey or undertaking. It is a project or activity that is new, exciting, and difficult, because it involves the risk of failure.
Okay, this is getting a little more interesting! So why Josiah, and how does this all line up?
One could say that King Josiah should receive more outstanding awards of awesomeness than any other figure in the Old Testament. "There was never a king like Josiah" (2 Kings 23:25). He is unsurpassed. This is a bold statement! King Josiah did, in fact, have a powerful impact on the nation of Israel in a way that was unlike any other king before him. Josiah was only eight years old when he became king of Judah. This was a dark time in biblical history, when God's Word was forgotten and people turned away from worshiping God. In these harsh circumstances stood a young teenager who chose to do right in the eyes of the Lord. During his reign, King Josiah followed the law, rebuilt the Temple, and led the nation to repentance and reformation. God chose to reform a nation through a young leader.
Josiah was one of the most remarkable kings of Judah, unique in the strength of his obedience and commitment. He stands as a wonderful example of what a young leader can and should be. There were other great kings of Judah and the united kingdom of Israel, such as David and Hezekiah. Adam Clarke states, "David was a greater but not a better man than Josiah." Yet, one thing that made Josiah remarkable was his godliness against the backdrop of a wicked time.
A close look at the structural elements of 2 Kings 22-23 reveals leadership principles in our contemporary world. Josiah's example of seeking and following God and his response to Scripture is actionable in our disciplemaking efforts.
The writers of 1 Kings and 2 Kings assume the audience has an intimate understanding of the Torah—the first five books of the Bible. Deuteronomy is the backbone to which all the events and characters are measured by. The Book of the Law represented the core written record of God's gracious covenant relationship with His people. So when the writer of the books of Kings ends the story of King Josiah (2 Kings 23:25) with a head nod to the Shema (Deut 6:4-5), it is a brilliant stroke of literary wonder:
2 Kings 23:25
“Before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength according to all the law of Moses, and no one like him arose after him.”
Mark D. Wessner, president of MB Seminary in Langley, British Columbia, says it this way, "Not only does 2 Kings 23:25 stand alone in terms of Josiah's ‘turning to the Lord,’ but it is the only Old Testament record of an individual fulfilling the triple command to love the Lord with all of one's heart (lebab), soul (nephesh), and strength (meod) as required in Deuteronomy 6:5. By identifying these specific characteristics, the narrator sets Josiah apart as a unique king specifically concerning his extraordinary faithfulness in meeting the requirements of Torah … Josiah is the only character explicitly described as fulfilling the expectations of the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4–5), of which the first part of Jesus's Greatest Commandment (Mark 12:29–30)."
King Josiah walked all his days living in submission to the Word of God. His wholehearted obedience, combined with his willingness to use his leadership influence to call others to return to God, was the secret sauce. He turned to the Lord with all his heart, soul, and strength. It was simple—nothing fancy or complicated.
Here is a short version of the "Jesus Shema" which combines the Shema with Jesus’ addition.
“Here, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.
Love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your might.
And love your neighbor as yourself.”
Let this sink in.
Take action and pray this prayer daily.
Today, we can learn from Josiah’s example to be deeply and relentlessly loyal to God, at all times and in all situations.
Thousands of young leaders, young Josiahs, are trained each year by our staff, and through those young leaders hundreds of new believers are entering the local church as a result of evangelistic and discipleship efforts.
As we invest in young Josiahs, we recognize the venture, a risky or daring journey, ahead of us.
- Pray for tender hearts to be transformed by the word of God
- Pray for renewal and reformation that finds its home in the local church and transforms society
- Pray for the simple obedience to the Shema and walking it out all our days
- Pray for bold faith to reach a new generation for Christ
This is why we are Josiah Venture. Join the movement to equip young Josiahs to fulfill Christ's commission through the local church.
It is such an honor to carry this name, Josiah Venture.
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