The joy of the Lord is my strength.
Bible said. I believe it. That settles it.
But does it feel like it? In those complicated employee improvement plan meetings? The rejected request for capital? A rent increase notice? And add on the challenges of family, relationships, life.
How can the joy of the Lord be our strength?
That is our examination in this 11-week Bible study focused on our joy at work. You will receive an email each Sunday with the study. It can be a wonderful addition to your regular Bible devotions.
Read Nehemiah 8. The joy of the Lord is my strength was written by Nehemiah. He was a royal cupbearer. The cupbearer was a trusted person at the royal courts and households. His duty was to supervise, pour, and serve the drinks at the royal table. This job gave Nehemiah countless possibilities to speak to the king and request favors from him.
This was in a time for the Jewish people were in their second exile. King Darius I of Persia had conquered Babylon. The King was favorable toward the Jews. He even appointed Daniel as chief minister of the realm. That relationship worked for a while until Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den. That gives you a bit of the commitment of the king to anyone, let alone those to whom he was “favorably inclined.”
Nathaniel served King Artaxerxes, grandson of King Darius. These were still challenging times for the Jewish people. In the verse just before “the joy of the Lord is my strength,” the people are told to “mourn not, weep not.” You are only commanded to not cry, when you are crying. Times are hard.
These were challenging times, and the work environment did not exhibit “health” or “appropriate boundaries.” Nehemiah still gained favor. He had become a friend to King Artzxerxes. The King even asked Nehemiah why he was “downtrodden.”
Our days are filled with challenging work. Most everyone will find themselves in at least one less-than-healthy working relationship (putting that mildly). And we all are facing risk, the Lion’s Den is not far in this market.
Yet, when we work with joy, we can gain adversaries. Those that ask, “How are you going?” “How are you feeling?” This is what Nehemiah had done.
Over the next ten weeks, we will examine the Biblical foundation for the joy of work. The call is to find joy. We will talk more about joy and joy as a source of strength. You will be encouraged to examine the work of your brand/product and the work with your employees, customers, and/or clients. You’ll be asked to drive into scripture on behalf of your own venture to build joy in your work and the work of others.
Seek joy in the midst. Note, joy isn’t the goal. Strength is the final outcome. Joy for strength. Joy is an avenue to the foothold, leverage, and bracing you need for your work today.
Questions for Reflection/Journaling
- Unpack for yourself. Define joy. Take some time to think about it.
- Think of examples where you need strength right now. List them out. Pray for each, asking God to provide joy in the midst of these challenges.
- There seems to be a spectrum of joy. Where do you generally land? How have you grown or adapted over time or by situation?
- Jesus got away to a lonely place to pray. How do you “get away?”