January 29, 2021 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Psalm 54:4 (NRSV)
But surely, God is my helper;
the Lord is the upholder of my life.
When we are in a desperate situation at work, God is there for you. God is your helper. God holds and upholds your soul. So lean upon God with all of your strength.
Psalm 54 is attributed to David, having been written “when the Ziphites went and told Saul, ‘Is not David hiding among us?’” That story shows up in 1 Samuel 23. In that chapter, King Saul is searching for David, seeking to kill him. As David is hiding, some men from his own tribe betray him to Saul. When David finds out, he offers Psalm 54 as his lament and urgent request for God’s help.
In our work environments, it’s unlikely that our colleagues or competitors will want to take our lives (though not impossible). It is much more likely that we will go through demanding, even traumatic experiences. And there might be times when someone is trying to take, not our life, but our job, our security, our opportunity, or something like this. Psalm 54 gives us words to cry out to God for help.
Gracious God, I feel so weighed down, so vulnerable, so discouraged. The things I face at work feel like more than I can possibly handle. And I’m not getting support from the very people I expect to be there for me. I feel alone and weak. I can’t keep going on like this.
In my desperation, I remember you. I remember how faithful you have been in the past. More than faithful, really. You’ve been exceedingly merciful and generous to me. You have helped in so many situations that felt overwhelming and impossible. You have delivered me from all measure of troubles.
So, today I confess that you are my helper. You are the upholder of my life. You support my very soul when I am weak and worried. You give me courage to keep on going. You guide me in the best ways. Because you are there for me, I am not alone.
In these days, Lord, help me to trust you, to seek you, to follow you, and to learn upon you. Thank you, thank you, for being there for me.
Ponder Throughout the Day
As you work today, God is your helper.
For Further Reflection
Take time to read all of Psalm 54. See what else the Lord wants to say to you to hear from you as you pray in light of this psalm.
An additional thought:
The word translated here as “upholder” is a participle from a verb that means “to lean, lay, rest, support.” It’s the verb that appears in the classic story of Samson, when he leaned with all of his might on the pillars of the building where he was being held as a prisoner (see Judges 16:29). Of course in Samson’s case his full-body leaning knocked over the pillars, bringing down the structure on him and his Philistine captors. When we lean on God, God “upholds” us, even when we lean back with all that we are. You cannot lean too much on God.
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Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Relationships and Work (Genesis 1:27; 2:18, 21-25)
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.