Monday, February 25, 2019

Leeman and Dever on Paying Pastors: A Brotherly Rejoinder

Last week, Jonathan Leeman and Mark Dever published a podcast in which they discuss the biblical validity of paying pastors in the local church:

I consider these men not only sincere brothers; I look up to them as men who have taught me much and whom I greatly admire.

But, having listened to this recording twice and re-listened to a couple of segments in particular, I don't believe the biblical texts they mentioned can validly be used as a basis for paying local pastors/elders in the church. So in this post I want to offer a brotherly/friendly rejoinder by briefly looking at each passage Leeman and Dever mentioned and pushing back on its applicability to paying local pastors/elders in the church.  I do so in the spirit of Acts 17:11 and my prayerful desire is that we all who bow to Jesus Christ as Lord would do the same.
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
Acts 17:11
Luke 10:7 - In the context, Jesus is sending out *traveling* apostles. We know their stay in any particular town is temporary because they return to where they began in v.11. Furthermore, Jesus is saying they should have food/drink and housing provided for them, not wages literally. The phrase "the laborer is worthy of his wages" is a metaphor that we aren't meant to apply literally. In the same way that a worker should receive wages, a traveling apostle should receive housing and food/drink. How do we get from this to local pastors/elders who are permanently based in a location receiving literal wages?

1 Corinthians 9:13 - In the immediate context of 1 Corinthians 9, Paul is talking about apostles. He mentions apostles/apostleship explicitly 4 times in the first five verses and once implicitly in v.5 when he speaks of "taking along" or "being accompanied by" a believing wife, which implies traveling.  This is what the apostles did as "sent ones"(apostle literally means "sent one" as it comes from the verb apostéllein which means to send off). In the wider context of Matthew 10/Luke 10 where Paul quotes Jesus from, Jesus is speaking to apostles who are traveling. Nowhere in chapter 9 (or all of 1 Corinthians for that matter) are local pastors/elders mentioned. And when Paul says that "those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel" (v. 14) the word translated as "proclaim" is katangello, which in the New Testament is never specifically applied to pastors/elders. It either applies to apostles (e.g. Acts 4:2) or all Christians (e.g. 1 Corinthians 11:26).

Galatians 6:6 - This verse seems to be a poorly translated one in all modern English translations. A better translation to suit the context would be: "Let the one who is taught participate in all good with the one who teaches." The "things" that comes after "good" in all modern English translations isn't in the original Greek, but has to be inferred based on the context. To talk about paying a teacher seems to be oddly placed in the context. In the first 10 verses of chapter 6, Paul is telling the Galatians to watch over and minister to one another and to persist in doing this kind of good to all people, especially to the household of faith. In this context, the "good" that Paul is telling the Galatians to give themselves to is good *works* rather than giving good *things* to a teacher. The point is: don't expect the teacher to do all the watching over and ministering to the saints but you all should be participating in those good works *together with* the teacher. To see paying local pastors in this text makes little sense of the larger context.  James Beaty unpacks this helpfully.

2 Timothy 4:3 - In multiple places in the New Testament, the apostles imply that there are people who are greedy to use the Word of God as a means of gain. For example, Paul tells Titus that elders shouldn't be greedy for gain (Titus 1:7). Peter tells the elders that they shouldn't do their work for shameful gain (1 Peter 5:2). Paul tells the Corinthians that there are *so many* who are wrongfully peddling the Word of God (2 Corinthians 2:17), which at the very least applies to the "super"/false apostles in the context of 2 Corinthians. To point to the fact that the New Testament indicates that there are people who are wrongfully making money from teaching the Word of God in no way proves that paying teachers is what God intended and that the church should rightfully be doing. One could argue that it actually proves that paying teachers is precisely what the church shouldn't be doing because of the dangers that are associated with it.

2 Corinthians 11:8 - Paul speaks of "robbing" one church (he specifically mentions the church in Macedonia here) in order to serve a church in a different location (specifically the church in Corinth here). First of all, Paul is applying this to himself as an apostle who is traveling, and not to a local pastor/elder who is permanently in one place. Second, he is speaking of church A funding the ministry of an apostle at church B. This has nothing to do with our modern way of paying pastors which happens by church A funding the ministry of a pastor/elder at church A.

Philippians 4:16-19 - This is similar to 2 Corinthians 11:8. Here Paul speaks of how the Philippians (Macedonians) funded his ministry while he was serving in Thessalonica. Again, he's speaking as a traveling apostle and church A (Philippians) funding the ministry of an apostle at church B (Thessalonica). Not related to pastors/elders permanently located in one place.

Hebrews 13:7,17 - Dever argues that to respect leaders and to let them do their work with joy and not groaning not only implies paying pastors but has "direct implications" on how you pay pastors. With all due respect, I don't believe this is exegesis. I think this is reading something into the text (eisegesis) that simply isn't there.

2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 - These verses clearly indicate that apostles have a right to food and drink. But, first, notice that it's talking about apostles, as developed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 9 when talking about the same right apostles have. Second, he isn't talking about apostles being given money. He's talking about apostles being given food (bread) without paying money for it (v. 8). As traveling apostles, what they needed was food/drink and housing/lodging for the temporary stay that they would have in any given town, not wages/a salary. This is why places in the New Testament like 2 John 10 speak of not receiving into your house or offering a greeting one who brings false doctrine.

Acts 6 - In this chapter, deacons are appointed to distribute food so that apostles can devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word. Dever acknowledges that it's not stated in the text but that the way they were able to give themselves wholly to prayer and the ministry of the Word is by being financially supported. I agree, as mentioned in the above passages, that apostles were provided with food/drink and housing. But I don't think this means a salary and this isn't talking about local pastors/elders.

1 Timothy 5:17-18 - Essentially all interpreters conclude that the honor Paul mentions is money in large part because of Paul saying that "the laborer deserves his wages." I think there's another way to read these verses. I've never heard anyone say that we should give pastors/elders grain. And rightly so. Because we understand that Paul is using a metaphor when mentioning not muzzling an ox. I think he does the exact same thing with the use of a laborer and his wages. The logic would go like this: in the same way that an ox should be free to eat grain as it treads and in the same way that one who is hired as a laborer should receive his agreed upon wage, so the elder should receive honor/respect for the kind of work he does. In the immediate context, one form of this honor is that we shouldn't admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses (v. 19). Further supporting this way of understanding honor as only literal honor/respect in the immediate context is just a couple of verses later Paul says that slaves are to regard masters as worthy of all honor (6:1). I don't think anyone argues that slaves should give their master money/wages since a slave wouldn't have any. So if this honor doesn't mean money/wages in 6:1, then is it too far-fetched to suggest it doesn't mean money/wages in 5:17? I think Paul means literal honor/respect, not money, in 1 Timothy 5:17 and that he makes the exact same point with different words in 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13.

One text Dever and Leeman didn't mention that has bearing on this conversation is Acts 20. Beginning in verse 17, Paul is addressing elders/pastors from Ephesus specifically. As he wraps up this address in verses 33-35, Paul reminds the elders how he ministered not only to his own necessities but to those who were with him. And then he instructs the elders that by working hard *we* must help the weak and, as Jesus taught, be those who seek to give rather than to receive. This is an address to elders only. Paul appears to be telling them that, just like him, they should work hard and seek to give *materially* to the needs of others rather than expecting others to *materially* meet their needs.

Many of the passages mentioned above by Leeman and Dever to support paying pastors/elders are directly talking about apostles and are indirectly applied to pastors/elders.

This final passage in Acts 20 which seems to speak against paying pastors is directly making reference to local pastors/elders.

How did we end up creating a system/tradition of paying pastors that seems to ignore the latter and focus on the former?

Friday, December 14, 2018

Rethinking Galatians 6:6

Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.
Galatians 6:6
There is one other passage of Scripture that is claimed as authority for the payment to teachers of a salary by the congregation taught.  Because a salary is a "good thing," therefore Paul enjoins amongst other "good things" the giving of a salary, contracted for, arranged and understood beforehand; so that, if it is not given afterward willingly, it can be forced by law.  It does not matter to some people how interpretations represent one Apostle to contradict another, or even the same Apostle to contradict himself, so long as a point is gained or an argument apparently answered.  The "Harmony of the Gospels" has been a fruitful theme, and has exhausted much learning in establishing the fact that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, harmonize.  A very useful work might be written in answer to those who claim to be friendly to apostolic inspiration, but who have misrepresented them by erroneous translations or interpretations of the apostolic teaching, and have made one Apostle appear at variance with another, or an Apostle at times at variance with himself.  This ought to be avoided.  That kind of interpretation and translation has encouraged sceptical tendencies, and is the last thing the friends of truth ought to be guilty of.

The passage referred to is Gal. 6:6: "Let him that is taught in the word communicate with him that teacheth in all good things."  We would translate as follows: "Let him that is taught in the word participate with the teacher in every good work."  There are two important words different in these translations.  The word "communicate" changed to "participate," and the word "things" to "work."  The word "participate" represents koinoneito in the original.  The word "things" stands for no distinct word in the original.  Agathois is translated "good things" in the Common Version.  I translate it "good works."

Now, if this passage is held to mean, as is commonly claimed, that the person taught is to pay his teacher, then Paul contradicts himself when it is compared with Acts 20.35; and Paul contradicts Peter, who wrote also to the Galatians (1 Peter 1.1), when this is compared with 1 Peter 5.3.  Such a result should be a reminder that something is wrong somewhere; not in the Apostles certainly.  Where then?  Why in the Apostle's translator or interpreter!  The translation we present makes everything and every person harmonize; and it is also in harmony with the context, and all other Scripture.  Koinoneo is "to have a thing in common, have a share of a thing with another, to take part in a thing, to go shares with, have dealings with a man"--to do an act in common with another.

Participate is a better translation in this place than "sharing" would be, and exactly represents the original.  It is not "sharing" when one gives one thing, and another some other thing in return as an equivalent.  When two or more jointly and unitedly give, they "share" in giving; when two or more jointly or unitedly receive, they "share" in receiving; but when one "gives," and another "receives" what is given, and at the same time the giver becomes a receiver of something as an equivalent, then it is not sharing in giving or receiving, for each does only one thing relating to one subject; but in sharing, two or more persons are joint in one action, do the same thing, and for one and a common object or purpose.

The word translated in the Common Version "communicate" has two ideas resulting from its use--based always on the ground idea of "sharing;" one is to "participate," the other is to "contribute;" both always in common.  The participation is a common or united partaking, and the contribution is a common or united giving.  The context has to determine which word is to be used, depending on whether something is bestowed or something is received, enjoyed, or participated in.  If the taught is to "share" with the teacher "in all good," not "of all good," the teacher is to contribute his "share" as well as the taught, and the idea commonly attached is reversed or modified.  To say the taught is to "contribute" "in all good" is not very sensible; but to say that the taught is to "participate" "in all good" is quite reasonable and in harmony with the context.  The original word is in the Common Version translated distributing (Rom. 12.13) and once communicated (Phil 4.15).  In all other instances it is partakers (Rom. 15.27; 1 Tim. 5.22; Heb. 2.14, 1 Peter 4.13; 2 John 11).

The other word is "good," something which must also be determined by the context.  The context in this instance is "burdens," verse 2; "work," verse 4; "burden," verse 5; "doing well," verse 9; and "do good" (agathon), verse 10.  "Agathos, good; since agathos merely denotes good in its kind, it serves as an epithet to all sorts of nouns, as opposed to kakos, bad in its kind.  In Homer, usually persons, especially with the action of brave.  Hence it became the usual epithet of heroes, and later was used pretty nearly equal to noble, opposed to baseignoble.  But in Attic, more usually in moral signification, goodvirtuous."  The words are en pasin agathois; "in all good," not "of all good."  The translator, with the view of supplying the noun to which the word agathois "serves as an epithet," should look to the context and not to his imagination; and the natural world to supply is "works," and not "things."  It is "work"--"doing" something that is spoken of--which is in fact the governing idea both before and after, and should therefore be supplied.  Is it better to say "do (agathois) good" things, or to say "do good works"?  Hence the person taught is not to let the teacher do all the good; but he is to share or participate with the teacher "in every good work."

The common idea is foreign to the subject and the context, and the text is made to do duty in supporting a practice otherwise plainly condemned in the Scriptures.  The form of the word is not agatha, but agathois.  The words ta agatha, as a technical expression, are explained to mean "the goods of fortune, wealth, advantages," or "good fare, dainties."  Ta agatha are said to mean "good things" (Parkhurst).  Literally, ta agatha means "the goods."  The article ta makes all the difference in that connection; like the article hoi in hoi polloi, or the English article the, in "the deep," when we intend to express sea or ocean, by that form of words; but without the article the it would simply be "deep" something, to be determined by the context, as polloi without the hoi would simply be "many" something, not the technical expression "the many," the crowd, the multitude.

Let the reader turn to Gal. 6.10, and read it with "things" or "works" or "deeds," and see which would make the better sense.  Turn also to Luke 12.18, for an instance of ta agatha; and see if the words, as well as the context, do not settle their meaning.  "I will pull down my barns and I will build larger ones; and there I will store all my produce, and my good things."  Turn also to Matt. 12.34, where we have agatha without the ta, and say whether it can be there translated "benefits" or "goods of fortune," or, strictly speaking, even "good things."  Is it not accurate to say, "How can you, being evil, speak good words"?    Words are what are spoken.  "Ideas" are expressed by words; or even "thoughts" would be a more appropriate term than "things" to supply, because of the context.  We have the very word (agathois) under discussion in 1 Peter 2.18: "Let servants be subject to their masters with all respect, not only to the (agathois) good (things) and gentle, but also to the perverse."  How perverse it would be to insist on "things" being supplied instead of "masters," the subject of observation as shown by the context!  One translator translates: "Let him that is instructed in the word share with his instructor in all good things" (Anderson).  Does that not enjoin on the teacher the obligation to allow the taught to "share" with him "in all good things," or "in all good things" which the teacher possesses?

But if it is said: "Let him that is instructed in the word share with the teacher in all good works," is it not intelligent and intelligible?  That is, the teacher should not be asked to do all the "good work," and the taught do nothing; but the person taught should unite with the teacher, or participate with him "in every good work," and not throw all the labour or burden on "visiting the widows and fatherless in their afflictions," or in visiting the sick, the needy and distressed in general, on the teacher's shoulders, but the taught ones should do their share, should work in common in this service, and not leave one, and that one the teacher, to do all.  This is largely the practice of modern times.  The people pay a man to teach them, and he is expected also to do nearly "every good work" besides: except raise the money to pay himself.  Even that work has to be done by the poor pastor at times.  Read carefully the first ten verses of Gal. 6, with this translation included, and judge whether it does not better suit the surroundings than the old one.  The words, however, expressing the injunction are to determine what it means; and do they not, as we have been at pains to show, clearly express a law different from one to support teachers.  We think they do; and doing so, they are in harmony with all other Scripture.  But "all good things" cannot be said to mean money only; although Solomon says "money answereth all things."  The taught ones ought to reciprocate, and amongst the "good things" given to the teacher, give him the lessons we have ascertained the Scriptures teach on this important subject.  They cannot do better.

--James Beaty, Paying the Pastor: Traditional and Unscriptural, p.75-80

Sunday, July 01, 2018

The Very Heart of Faith in Christ

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9–10
It should now be clear that when Paul speaks in this way he is not merely making a virtue out of the necessity of his bodily and spiritual sufferings, nor is he simply attempting an ad hoc defence against the attacks aimed at his person.  What he says is to be understood in terms of the very heart of his faith in Christ, which is faith in the Crucified; and it is on this basis that his words define the fundamental meaning of his existence as Christian and apostle.  Life in Christ is life in hope, and can be comprehended only as the very antithesis of all earthly satisfaction, just as the Cross is the sign of divine life only in antithesis of all the glamour and glory of the world.  Christ's glory and the glory of this age, the wisdom of God and the wisdom of men, boasting of one's natural powers and boasting of one's weakness, are things that can never co-exist nor be made, so to speak, compatible with one another.  Paul consciously holds fast to this truth not only as a man but also in his role as an apostle; it characterises his mode of operation. 'If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ' (Galatians 1:10).  Paul carries out his work 'in weakness and in much fear and trembling' (1 Corinthians 2:3, 1 Thessalonians 2:2), and explicitly refuses to commend his testimony by means of the glamour of bewitching rhetoric or of supposedly higher wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:1, 4, 13).  It is by suffering for his congregations that he brings about their salvation (2 Corinthians 1:6).  Only so can he remain truly the apostle of his Lord, the crucified Christ, who is to the Jews a scandal and to the Greeks foolishness, but who in this human nothingness at the same time reveals to both of them the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:22-24).

--Hans von Campenhausen, Ecclesiastical Authority and Spiritual Power, p. 41

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Jesus: Alive to All Our Sorrows

The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.
Proverbs 14:10
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and knowing grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isaiah 53:3
The history of the soul is only fully known and felt by the conscious subject.  Each knoweth his own bitterness, deep, interior.  The most poignant sufferings often arise from causes, which cannot be told to our dearest friend.  No two of us are framed alike; and this diversity of mind and character precludes a perfect reciprocity even in the warmest glow of human sympathy.  Each only knows where the heart is wrung.  Each therefore must in a measure tread a solitary path, and in that path often submit to be misunderstood.


But think of Him, who made himself "a man of sorrows," that he might be "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." (Isaiah 53:3, Hebrews 4:15).  This is not the common love to the whole family, but an individual interest of fellowship, as if each had his whole heart, and each was loved alone.  The heart's bitterness is experimentally known, and effectually relieved. (Isaiah 50:4-5)  Man--very man as he is even on the throne of God--he is alive to all our sorrows.  (Isaiah 63:9) None of his members are too low for his highest and most endearing thoughts.  Into this bosom we may pour the tale of woe, which no ear besides can receive.  We may not be able to comprehend it.  But he will make us feel, that his sympathy with sorrow is no fiction, but a precious reality.  My Saviour!  Has my heart a bitterness, that thou dost not know, that thou dost not feel with me, and for which thou dost not provide a present cordial and support?

--Charles Bridges, Proverbs: Geneva Commentary Series, p.175-176
A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Why and How God Is Good

... all the time.
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Psalm 34:8
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28
The goodness of God is often spoken of as if it were a mere instinctive desire for the diffusion of universal happiness, without reference to the characters or habits of his creatures -- as if he were concerned to make them comfortable, whatever might be their views and feelings in reference to himself, and in whatever way might be most congenial to their disposition and taste; as if, in fact, God had regard to no other end than the mere physical enjoyment of man!

Now, no view can be more at variance with the doctrine of Scripture than this!  I see not how, on such a supposition, we can reconcile the actual facts of human experience, with the belief that an Almighty Being, acting on this principle, exercises a providence over the world.  For, unquestionably, there is much suffering in the world.  And if there is no moral reason and no final cause for such suffering -- it would seem to derogate either from the goodness which we ascribe to God, or from his power to carry his benevolent intentions into effect.*

The man who holds it as a first principle, that the only or the chief end of God is the diffusion of mere physical enjoyment, irrespective of all moral considerations, and who takes a survey of the actual state of the world, or a review of his own experience -- must be staggered by many difficulties, which a more correct and Christian view of God's end in providence can alone obviate and remove.

The Bible does not speak of God's goodness in this way.  It never once ascribes to him the desire of making his creatures happy without reference to their moral condition.  It declares his loving-kindness, indeed, and tells us that he has no pleasure in our sufferings.  But it affirms, notwithstanding, that these sufferings are inflicted by his hand, and will continue to be inflicted, so long as the more important ends of his government are unfulfilled.  In a word, it is a moral happiness -- a happiness springing from, and in a great measure consisting in, the graces and virtues of a holy character, that the Bible declares God's willingness to bestow.  And it is a moral goodness that is ascribed to him, not an indiscriminate charity, that would secure a happiness for every man conformable to his own inclination, however wicked and perverted these inclinations may be; but a holy love, acting wisely, with a view to moral ends, and seeking to bless its objects in a way suitable to their dignity as moral and responsible beings.

--James Buchanan, The Improvement of Affliction
As often as we hear Romans 8:28 quoted, how often do we hear the very next verse--Romans 8:29--quoted together with it?  Not once in my experience.  But Romans 8:29 begins with the word "for" which means not only that it's inseparable from verse 28, but, more importantly, it provides the ground on which verse 28 stands!  What is that ground?
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Romans 8:29
In other words, why do all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (verse 28)?

Because the good purpose that all things are working toward in the lives of those who are foreknown and predestined by God (verse 30 will make explicit that those called according to God's purpose in verse 28 is the same group as those foreknown and predestined in verse 29) is for every person in that group to be conformed into the image of the only Man who is morally perfect--namely, His Son Jesus Christ.  Which is to say that the good of Romans 8:28, the goodness of God, is ultimately a moral goodness rooted in God seeking not the temporal but the moral happiness of men.  Exactly what Buchanan says.

*In his best-selling book, Rabbi Harold Kushner solved this dilemma of reconciling human suffering, the goodness of God, and the sovereignty of God by denying the sovereignty of God.  God cannot be in control because the existence of human suffering robs His creatures of comfort and happiness and this would contradict Kushner's superficial doctrine of God's goodness.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

This Is About That

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Ephesians 5:31-32
The most concise yet profound summary I've seen/heard regarding the mystery of marriage.

Everything He has--His love, His goodness, His power--becomes ours.
And everything we have--our sin, our shame, our past--becomes His.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Hills and Valleys

And a man of God came near and said to the king of Israel, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The LORD is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.’”
1 Kings 20:28
I know nothing about music technically, but the overall combination of melody, instrumentation, voice, soul, and theology here ... I've never been more captivated by the beauty of a song.

I've walked among the shadows
You wiped my tears away
And I've felt the pain of heartbreak
And I've seen the brighter days
And I've prayed prayers to heaven from my lowest place
And I have held Your blessings
God You give and take away
No matter what I have, Your grace is enough
No matter where I am, I'm standing in Your love

On the mountains I will bow my life to the One who set me there
In the valley I will lift my eyes to the One who sees me there
When I'm standing on the mountain I didn't get there on my own
When I'm walking through the valley I know I am not alone
You're God of the hills and valleys, hills and valleys
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone

I've watched my dreams get broken
In You I hope again
No matter what I know
I'm safe inside Your hands

On the mountains I will bow my life to the One who set me there
In the valley I will lift my eyes to the One who sees me there
When I'm standing on the mountain I didn't get there on my own
When I'm walking through the valley I know I am not alone
You're God of the hills and valleys, hills and valleys
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone

Father You give and take away
Every joy and every pain
Through it all You will remain over it all

On the mountains I will bow my life
In the valley I will lift my eyes

On the mountains I will bow my life to the One who set me there
In the valley I will lift my eyes to the One who sees me there
When I'm standing on the mountain I didn't get there on my own
When I'm walking through the valley I know I am not alone
You're God of the hills and valleys, hills and valleys
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone

And I will choose to say
Blessed be Your name
And I am not alone