October 20, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Psalm 108:13
With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes.
God empowers us to be strong in our work. God also fights on our behalf against the “foes” that would drag us down. Such foes might be discouragement, exhaustion, job loss, temptations to compromise ethically, excessive pride, or materialism. In our everyday work, we can count on God’s help to “do valiantly.”
I love the first line of Psalm 108:13, “With God we shall do valiantly.” The NRSV use of “valiantly” reflects the King James Version. Other translations include: “With God we will triumph” (CEB); “With God we will gain the victory” (NIV); “With God’s help we will do mighty things” (NLT). The NTL is arguably closest to the basic meaning of the Hebrew, which reads very literally, “In God we will do strength.” But I like “valiantly” because it sounds noble, adventuresome, and courageous.
Psalm 108:13 reads, “With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.” Obviously, this psalm was written in a time of significant national conflict, a time when Israel had literal foes who needed to be stomped down. As we read this psalm today, especially in the context of our daily work, it’s unlikely that we have actual human foes. (This is possible, of course, if you work in law enforcement or the military.) It wouldn’t be quite right to think of your competitors as your foes. But we do have “foes” in our workday experiences. These foes might include discouragement, exhaustion, job loss, temptations to compromise ethically, excessive pride, materialism, racism, sexism, ageism, and so on. We can ask the Lord to “tread down” these foes so that we might flourish in our work.
Gracious God, as I think about my work, I am so, so grateful that you are present and powerful. I’m glad that I don’t leave you behind when I go to work, even though sometimes I might forget you for a while. Thank you for being present to empower me, lead me, encourage me, and protect me. Lord, I would like to “do valiantly” in my work through your strength and in a way that honors you.
Thank you, Lord, for how you “tread down” my foes. Unlike the psalm writer, my foes aren’t human beings. But they are powers and pressures that drag me down. Thank you for taking on my discouragement and exhaustion. Thank you for watching out for me in times of job transition. Thanks for strengthening my resolve to do what is right even when it is costly. Thanks for helping me to battle sinful desires within myself, things like excessive pride and materialism. Thank you for being a God of justice, a God who helps to defeat racism, sexism, ageism, and all other forms of prejudice and bias.
As I “do valiantly,” may I produce fruit that glorifies you, gracious God. And may I work in a way that people can see your influence in my life. Amen.
Ponder Throughout the Day
With God’s help, you can “do valiantly” today.
For Further Reflection
Read all of Psalm 108.
Read 2 Corinthians 2:7-10 – Therefore, to keep_ me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power _is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the High Calling archive, hosted by the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: What Might You Do If You Really Believed That God Was Here to Help You?
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.