7. Fear: That we fear is our God; for fear is in the heart of worship. Thus, Scripture often terms worship to be “fear” of the Lord (Matt. 4:10; Deut. 6:13). In Isaiah 51:12-13 God equates fear of “who dies” with forgetting the Lord. That which we fear most is our God.
Thomas Watson in The Great Gain of Godliness explains the rightful fear of the Lord:
[It] is a divine fear, which is the reverencing and adoring of God’s holiness, and the setting of ourselves always under his sacred inspection. The infinite distance between God and us causes this fear.
God is so breat that the Christian is afraid of displeasing him, and so good that he is afraid of losing him.
This is not to be “afraid of God”, because a godly fear is mixed with love, faith, prudence (caution), hope, diligence (in the things of God).
That which we fear we make our greatest concern. If we first fear man, then man’s judgment is the basis of justification – we bring ourselves into judgment before that which we fear.
This is especially a deadly matter, because when we fail to fear God we cannot help but sin against him. That thing we fear other than God, that god which is no God, will lead us surely. Thus, the fearful and cowardly are reckoned among the idolaters (Rev. 21:8).
8. Hope: That object of our hope is our God – it is the place to which we journey and subject our life. A drowning man thinks of nothing but the air – the place of the air is his hope and all his life he directs to getting air.
The Christian’s hope must be solely in the Lord Jesus Christ:
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13 (ESV)
God, himself is our hope and joy:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 (ESV)
Just as saving faith must entail trust so it must entail hope. Therefore, Jesus is called our “hope” (1 Tim. 1:1). This is the effect of Christ:
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27 (ESV)
There are many who hope for “heaven”, by which them the fulfilling of their desire for the creature. They think heaven to be a place of all their current delight – when heaven (and better still, the New Heavens and the New Earth) are a place of love and joy in our Savior.
There is a subtle danger in our hope: For one can learn to hope in her own prayers, and obedience, and service. In so doing, salvation is no longer the gift of a God who justifies the ungodly, but rather the merit of my efforts. If we will hope in God, then we must hope in him alone.
That upon which we fix our immovable hope, that is our God – and thus is often an idol.
9. Desire: Anything we desire as much as or more than a desire to enjoy God – that is our god. David’s desire was for the Lord:
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4 (ESV)
When the Sons of Korah despair, they desire to appear before God:
1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:1–2 (ESV)
When you fall into a crushing hole of sorrow and despair, what do you desire – what do you think or feel could lift the weight? That which you desire in your joy – and that which you desire in your depression, that is your God:
1 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me! 2 For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 3 Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! 4 Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. 5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 43 (ESV)
Part One can be found here:
Part Two can be found here: