Sunday, February 25, 2007

Desiring God Chapter 1 - The Happiness of God

I'm finally getting an opportunity to share my thoughts on the first chapter of this book. I'll try to do it without typing the whole chapter. :^)

Piper follows a logical thread of biblical arguments to establish that God's own happiness is the basis for our pleasure in Him. He shows that God is sovereign and His purposes can't be frustrated, even evil is under His control and fulfilling His ultimate purposes. Because of this "We will not find a frustrated, gloomy, irritable Father who wants to be left alone, but a Father whose heart is so full of joy that it spills over onto all those...who are thirsty."

A major theme that stood out to me in this chapter is the question, Why does God want and command our praise? Here come some great quotes! Piper says:


"The second reason people stumble over the teaching that God exalts His own glory and seeks to be praised by his people is that the Bible teaches us not to be like that. For example, the Bible says that love "does not seek its own" (1 Corinthians 13:5, NASB). how can God be loving and yet be utterly devoted to "seeking his
own" glory and praise and joy? How can Go
d be for us if He is so utterly for Himself?


The answer I propose is this: Because God is unique as an all-glorious, totally self-sufficient Being, He must be for Himself if He is to be for us. The rules of humility that belong to a creature cannot apply in the same way to its Creator. If God should turn away from Himself as the Source of infinite joy, He would cease to be God. He would deny the infinite worth of His own glory. He would imply that there is something more valuable outside Himself. He would commit idolatry."

While I may have occasionally wondered about the question above in passing, I certainly never stumbled over it, but I really liked the answer.

The next concept to stick with me was, "We praise what we enjoy because the delight is incomplete until it is expressed in praise." Piper stumbled upon this concept while reading C.S. Lewis's Reflections on the Psalms, which I am also adding to my ridiculously long reading list - but I think it may get bumped to the top. :^) Lewis expressed that people praise whatever they are enjoying, and not only do they praise it, but they invite others to join them in praising it.

If I had been asked if I give praise to God, I would certainly have said that I do. I praise Him for my life, for good food, for nice weather, for green lights... But now I think of all of the other things that I praise so enthusiastically. The last episode of 24 ("You've got to watch that show; it's awesome!), my Rosie in pigtails ("isn't she so cuuute?!"), a great new latte flavor ("you've got to try this, mmm,mmm,mmm"). Yes, I can be spastically spontaneous in praising all of these things to the people around me. Do I so delight myself in God that my delight spills over in praise so effervescent that it infects those around me?

"All the works of God culminate in the praises of His redeemed people. The climax of His happiness is the delight He takes in the echoes of His excellence in the praises of the saints. This praise is the consummation of our own joy in God. Therefore, God's pursuit of praise from us and our pursuit of pleasure from Him are the same pursuit..."

1 comment:

Leslie said...

I can be spastically spontaneous in praising all of these things to the people around me. Do I so delight myself in God that my delight spills over in praise so effervescent that it infects those around me?

"spastically spontaneous" made me laugh! This is a very good question. Too many times I feel like my verbal praise to God is forced more than a natural spilling over. Why is it so much easier to praise "24"? I guess because I know that the folks around me are going to start praising it, too. When I say something about God, most of the time the other person is silent. It's awkward. Know what I mean?