Here, in The Pleasure of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God, author John Piper aims to convince the reader that God delights most in Himself, which in turn overflows to the benefit of those who are to rejoice and delight in Him. A cursory glance at that idea may make it appear strange or even unseemly, yet careful contemplation, as well as exploration of scripture, inevitably ends in a similar discovery.
“Is not the essence of righteousness to place supreme value on what is supremely valuable, with all the just actions that follow? And isn’t the opposite of righteousness to set our highest affections on things of little or no worth, with all the unjust actions that follow? Thus the righteousness of God is the infinite zeal and joy and pleasure that he has in what is supremely valuable, namely, his own perfection and worth. And if he were ever to act contrary to this eternal passion for his own perfections he would be unrighteous, he would be an idolater.”
It is statements such as this that give the impression that the author benefited from Jonathan Edward’s thoughts in 'the End for Which God Created the World'. The idea that God delights in being God may offend some, but as Piper demonstrates, “The great ground of hope in all the God-centered servants of the Lord has always been the impossibility that God would let his great name be dishonored for long among the nations.” His triune nature and perfect (intra-trinitarian) love, His sovereignty and divine power and finally, His glory and renown perpetuated by the hope, prayers, and obedience of His people, freely chosen, and preserved according to His infinite grace and wisdom, all serve as the indomitable basis of His perfect happiness.
“Prayer is his delight because prayer shows the reaches of our poverty and the riches of His grace”
“God has pleasure in an act that comes from faith because he has pleasure in the demonstration of his glory”
“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”
“…the essence of faith is being satisfied with all that God is for us in Christ.”
The book is scripture-saturated with the majesty of God resonating throughout. Piper’s passion is palpable, and his theology is congruent. Here, the mind and heart merge, consummating in this (soon-to-be) classical piece of Christian literature that I highly recommend to Christians in need of guidance as they look to embark upon a season of spiritual growth through careful reflection. ‘The Pleasures of God’, a study Bible, and notepad/pen, along with a humble spirit, teetering on the cusp of prayer, are all that is needed to delve into Spirit-led, soul-satisfying meditation.