I recently finished reading the Together for the Gospel Edition of John Piper’s book The Pleasures of God. Like many of Piper’s books, it’s one of those books you have to stop every few pages and think/meditate. It is rich in scriptural content and word pictures of how the author imagines different aspects of God.
The book is divided into nine chapters, and this edition has a study guide built-in for small group or personal use. I would only recommend the book and study guide for a small group that is full of mature and deeply committed believers. The meat and “heavy lifting” of the material could prove discouraging for those who are still subsisting mainly on milk. Other than that small caveat, the book is a wonderful set of meditations for the believer who just wants to dwell on what God takes pleasure in. Piper addresses the pleasure of God in His Son, in all that He as God does, and in Creation. These are great foundational chapters that prepare the heart of the reader and refocus his attention on an accurate picture of God.
Piper follows up with chapters on the pleasure of God in His fame, election, and in bruising the Son. These chapters are harder to digest and require some deep thought. Our American mentality reacts against anyone drawing pleasure from their own fame, and so we have some baggage to get past. Election is always a sticky subject, especially dealing with Piper’s unconditional election. And who wouldn’t stumble at the initial thought of God taking pleasure in bruising His Son for our redemption? And yet it is straight from the text of scripture that Piper draws his arguments and reflections.
The book closes with sections on the pleasure of God in doing good to those who hope in Him, the pleasure of God in the prayers of the upright, and the pleasure of God in personal obedience. This is a good way to close. Piper reflects on the pleasures that God takes in the things that He has commanded us to do.
This book is no light weight, and it is not for the Christian who wants some feel good fluff-n-stuff. It is deep in it’s thought and depth, and will challenge the careful reader to better consider the God of the Bible. Great read and great tool for deepening one’s walk with Christ.