Hebrews 9:1-5 (ESV)
 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness.  For a tent was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence. It is called the Holy Place.  Behind the second curtain was a second section called the Most Holy Place,  having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.  Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
In modern times, art is often seen as a form of self-expression. The most important thing is to be “authentic” and to express oneself earnestly. Worship is often seen the same way. As long as we sing or serve with good intentions and genuine emotion, God should accept it happily. How we feel and what we desire to do for God becomes the primary focus.
The biblical witness regarding worship is shockingly different. God gives Moses incredibly detailed instructions for where and how the people are to worship. When Nadab and Abihu offer God “unauthorized fire” to the Lord in Leviticus 10, He consumes them! When a well-meaning Uzzah reaches out to steady the ark of God in the midst of worship, God strikes him down for his error (2 Samuel 6)!
In these moments, God appears to be a petty, controlling deity. Doesn’t He know that it’s the thought that counts?
According to our passage, for as long as there have been a people of God, there have been regulations for worship. God cannot be worshiped just any old way and this does not restrict us, it frees us. Worship has always been greater than anything the whims of man could conceive of.
When God designs the worship, we are reminded that God is light itself and His very body is given for us. When God designs the worship, we are amazed that the Holy One of Israel would allow us to worship Him at all. When God designs the worship, we are more aware of God’s presence, provision, authority, and justice than our own. When God designs the worship, we are awed by the One who sits on a throne of mercy and is worshiped day and night by the saints and angels.
Why would we waste our time focusing on what is inside of us, when we can wonder at the One who is set apart from us (holy) and who is beyond us (infinite, glorious)?