by John Piper
This book is shaped by one thought that gripped the author to write this book. That is this quote from Henry Scougal:
The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love. (loc. 255)
This is a truth which we can aim at ourselves and use to determine whether the things which we love are really of a value that that they define the worth and excellency of our soul. This has the potential to be a very challenging and thought provoking book. Yet, that is not what this book is. Piper takes this idea and rather than looking to determine what it is that man loves and delights in he aims to illuminate what God loves and delights in. That is the story of The Pleasures of God. It is an investigation of scripture to determine what God delights in. So in one sense that makes this book very much not about us. It is not written as an attempt to transform us but to illuminate and enlighten our understanding of God. This might be a detractor from the value of this book were we to fail to grasp this concept:
We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. – 2 Corinthians 3:18
Paul teaches that the act of beholding – contemplating – the glory of God results in our transformation. So if that is the case then a book like this that is full of beholding God’s glory can be extremely beneficial in bringing about personal transformation.
I have been a big fan of nearly everything that I’ve read written by John Piper. Whether or not I agree with it all word-for-word is irrelevant because his writings always are very scripture driven and drive the reader back to the text. At that level there is agreement.
This book is in some senses a follow-up (or maybe actually the precursor) to Desiring God. The core concept in that book is that “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in him.” In other words, that the ultimate aim of our affections is to be God himself. This book asserts the idea that the ultimate aim of God’s affections is God.
I regard this book as a vision of God through the lens of his happiness. (loc. 302)
The structure of this book begins for the first six chapters with an investigation of the delights of God himself first. It is only in the seventh chapter that the focus turns to include the response of humans and how God is delighted in that. This structure is intentional to communicate that God is at the center of the Gospel. His delight is served in in the delight of mankind. When we pray or trust or obey it serves to further the delight of God himself as we express our delight in him.
Whether you are a Christian or not, young or old, I would recommend you read and reflect on this book. This is a book that demonstrates the orientation of life that leads to ultimate joy and satisfaction.
DISCLAIMER: I received a free evaluation copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. I did not receive any monetary payment nor was I required to write a positive review. I hope my comments about the book will help you evaluate whether or not the book is worth purchasing and reading.