Thursday 17 October 2013

Book Review - Deeper Places: Experiencing God in the Psalms by Matthew Jacoby

The Blurb

People typically have two ways of thinking about spirituality. Either they have accepted the false reality that they can only know about God, without knowing him personally, or they have romanticised spirituality to such an extent that it becomes far too otherworldly. In either case, expectations are lowered, and they live in spiritual bankruptcy, feeling like spiritual failures.

Australian Pastor and musician Matthew Jacoby sets the Psalms to music as they were intended, performing them with his band, Sons of Korah, for over fifteen years. In the Psalms, he has discovered a portrait of authentic spirituality that helps us journey from deep sadness to profound joy. Jacoby gives readers an in-depth look at the Psalms as a pathway to intimate and satisfying relationship with God.

The Review

Do you have a yearning for more in your relationship with the Lord? If your answer is yes, I’d encourage you to read this book and dive deep into the Psalms.

Jacoby outlines how the Psalms depict an authentic relationship with the Lord. In studying the words of David and others we are able to see the full spectrum of expression between the author and God. It is in this richness of expression where true depth of relationship can be found.

This isn’t a commentary or devotional rather a journal that provides a “window into the experiences of people – experiences that exemplify the life of faith from an inside perspective. They were written not just to tell us about God but to draw us into an encounter with God.” (pp 15,13)

Jacoby takes us on an intimate journey where we see the “warts and all”. We start by reflecting on the significance of God’s sadness (I’d never really considered that). But why wouldn’t He be when he loves us so much? We see David fearful and lonely in a cave, the anointed King a fugitive in exile. But this is where transformation begins so he can step into the role God has determined for Him.

We are taken to places where the author is in life-threatening danger but somehow manages to writes words of praise and joy. 

This is one of those books that you need to take time over and mediate on both Scripture and Jacoby's words of explanation. The book is structured around explaining the various types of psalm (eg, lamentation, praise, etc) and outlining how we can use the words to better aid our own communication with the Lord.

As one of the endorser’s states: "Deeper Places is about knowing God, not knowing about God." I want to know God more intimately and this wonderful book has opened my eyes to the possibilities of “experiencing a relationship with God that is as real as with any other person.”

I’ve reflected in writing a few times recently the significance of Psalm 37: 4 in my life at present:

“Delight yourself in the Lord
And He will give you the desires of your heart.”

As I’ve pondered on that statement I’ve come to realise God wants us to enjoy Him. “Deeper Places” throws glorious light on how the psalmists managed to experience life enjoying God.

Deeper Places is published by Baker Books and is available at Koorong

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel, Angelguard, was released recently in US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Sounds very interesting, Ian. I have family who are big fans of Sons of Korah. Might investigate this.

    1. Until I read the book I'd never listened to their music. They also include some useful commentaries of individual psalms on their website.

  2. It does sound like an interesting read. Thanks for sharing, Ian.

    1. Thanks Paula. It's incredible that Matthew has spent so many years in the psalms. I'm a little in awe.

  3. Wow! Thanks Ian that is a good review. I really feel this book is perfect for a friend - and I would also like to read it. Is there a CD to go with the book? I would like to hear the Psalms set to music

    1. Thanks Catherine. I'm not aware of any accompanying CD. Check out their website,, where you can sample their music.

  4. Excellent review, Ian. Thanks for sharing - it's something totally outside my normal reading sphere.

  5. Thanks Iola. I try to have a Biblical-based devotional/journal/commentary in my daily reading stack so I can gain more insights into the Word.

  6. Ian, great review! It sounds like the type of book I'd like to read. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights.

  7. "Deeper Places is about knowing God, not knowing about God." Wow... that's the kind of premise which draws me to read non-fiction.

    Thanks for sharing, Ian.

  8. Thanks Narelle and Dotti. I'd encourage you to check it out.


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