If you haven’t gotten the message by now in Exodus, let me make it plain. Being God’s people is serious business. The ten commandments summarized the obligations of the relationship succinctly, but they are further elaborated as the Pentateuch unfolds — as if to emphasize their importance.
God’s people cannot live as they please. Truth is an important part of our ethic and it doesn’t change whether one is rich or poor. We are to be concerned about others – even our enemies – and that involves looking out for their best interests. The “Sabbath Laws” were written for two reasons: First, to legislate trust in God. If you cannot work, you will have no choice but to depend on God. For Israel, it was to be a part of their constitution. It defined them. But second, the Sabbath laws provide rest for yourself and others – animals, servants – particularly those who were likely to be oppressed as Israel became more prosperous.
God’s people cannot worship if they please, and where and when they please. Worship was always to be on God’s terms. No one shows up before God unannounced and uninvited. No one should presume on God’s presence or time. Though we often don’t think about it, NOT thinking about it inevitably leads to a depreciation of the worship assembly, and ultimately no worship at all.