English Standard Version (ESV)
This may be hard to believe, but sometimes my children act up. We get them to apologize, and often what happens is that they spend so much time crafting their apology to meet our expectations that any actual contrition has been lost in the making of the apology. They've said the right words and put the appropriate look on their face, but a heartfelt apology it is not.
Have you ever watched a movie where it was clear that the director was so amazed by his own abilities that the story got lost somewhere in the making of it? It's the same concept.
And so God is warning us here about crafting a life that spends so much time trying to get the outward appearance of worship right and yet somehow misses the heartfelt worship of God that is born of awe and wonder at God's power and might and grace and love. This is the purpose of the first few verses -- to remind us of God's absolute majesty. We should be in complete awe, filled with wonder, at the thought of God in his glory, that there is no other way to approach him but in humility. We dare not approach him on our own merits -- what could we say or do that would make us worthy of such an appearance? The thought is laughable, really.
But sometimes we fool ourselves, we craft our thoughts in such a way that forgets how separate the majesty of God is from our humble sinfulness. We lose perspective, and we think ourselves cleverer than we are. These are dangerous times, and so we are wise to remember that we have been saved by God, and we know God only because he has chosen, in love and mercy, to allow himself to be known by his creations. This should make us even more amazed at the complete and perfect love of God!