Worship is to be God centered. Any time man places anything else in God’s place he has erred. Satan tried to convince Jesus to make Satan the object of His worship (Matthew 4:9). Cornelius bowed to worship Peter (Acts 10:25) and John fell to worship an angel (Revelation 19:10). The temptation to place something or someone in the center of our worship other than God is probably more tempting than we admit, which adds to the danger. A frequent substitute is one’s own desire to be entertained.
The desire to be entertained has become a characteristic of our nation. The entertainment industry is driven by enormous profits and many of its employees are called celebrities because they touch almost every life in America. It doesn’t stop there. The search for pleasure is mingled with shopping (observe the latest malls), learning (listen to the phoenix advertisements and Sesame Street), employment (listen to folks describe wanting to find other work because their job is no fun), and listen to children and adults as they demand something fun to do. Advertisements demand you deserve to have a jet ski or a season pass to events. These things are not wrong, but it is safe to say that America demands entertainment as a right.
The danger is when this same attitude and practice is brought over into worship. Worship is offering adoration to God. It isn’t offered to us, our emotions, our community, or to anyone or anything! Worship is to God and by God’s standard (John 4:24). This isn’t easy in a society that demands emotional enjoyment in almost everything. Yet, the world has always expected different things from worship. They did in Baal’s worship, Nicolaitanes’ worship and the worship of idols in Athens. All these sought self-satisfaction through man’s doctrine. Before you leave an assembly of worship concerned because you didn’t get a charge in self-confidence and a “feel good” boost, study Genesis 22. This is the first time the word “worship” is found in the Bible. Abraham had to wait until he was 100 to have Isaac. Isaac was to begin fulfilling the promise that Abraham would be the father of a great nation. Imagine the confusion when God told Abraham to offer his son upon an alter. By faith he prepared and left early the next morning with servants, a donkey, and his son. On the third day of his travels he saw Mt. Moriah in the distance. He stopped and unloaded the wood onto Issac’s back and took a knife and fire in his hands. He turned to the servants and said, “Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship” (Gen 22:5). Find the feel good in that! “I know that you fear God” (22:12) the angel said. God was pleased – something to feel good about!