Lewis says that as he was beginning to believe in God, a great stumbling block was the presence of demands scattered through the Psalms that he should praise God. He did not see the point in all this; besides, it seemed to picture God as craving “for our worship like a vain woman who wants compliments.” He goes on to show why he was wrong:
“But the most obvious fact about praise—whether of God or anything—strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise. . . . The world rings with praise—lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game. . . .
“My whole, more general difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value.
“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.”
I just finished reading God’s Passion for His Glory, which is not a new book, but a reprint of a book by 18th-century philosopher and theologian Jonathan Edwards called The End for Which God Created the World, with a new (nearly book-length) foreword by John Piper. I greatly enjoyed this book. It has challenged and even reshaped my perceptions about God, the world, and scripture. I recommend this book to every reader. If you’d prefer not to read Piper’s foreword, at least pick up some edition of Edwards’ book and give his claims the careful consideration they are due. Continue reading ›
I have just finished listening to the second (and most recent) sermon in an excellent new series being preached by Pastor John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s an expository series that will take an entire year to go verse by verse through the whole Gospel of John. The first two sermons have been fantastic, and I would encourage—no, it needs to be a stronger word than that: exhort? urge. impel!—you, whoever you are, to watch, read, or listen to them yourself.
To that end, here is a link to the series: The Gospel of John. I’d love to chat with you about these sermons, so please please leave a comment if you do check them out.