When we ignore God’s instruction, we do so to our own harm. Every time. We may not see the harm in working on the Sabbath. Until our marriage is struggling, our children are estranged, and our health is suffering. We may think “little white lies” are harmless, until we have to tell another to cover the first, and another to cover that one, until we aren’t even sure what the truth is. We might think mixing our faith in God with a little New Age meditation is just our way of personalizing our faith, but God forbade idolatry because whatever form it takes, it exalts our own opinion above the expressed will of God. When we believe our way of doing things is better than God’s, we no longer worship God, but self.
God gives us laws as a parent sets boundaries for their beloved child, out of wisdom about the world and the dangers in it, and to protect the one they love who may not see the danger. Imagine a child throwing a temper tantrum because mommy won’t let him drink the bright-colored, but deadly, anti-freeze. Picture a toddler escaping her loving father’s arms to run into the busy street. Or a teen ignoring a curfew to get drunk or take drugs at a party.
When we think that God’s wisdom regarding rest, or purity, or generosity, or forgiveness, or service are old-fashioned and designed to keep us from something good, we need to stop and think of these images of a child, so determined to gain something that we see the danger of, and remember that we are that child. What's more, we fall for the oldest lie, literally, in the Book. Satan's first temptation of Adam and Eve was couched in casting doubt on the goodness and blessing of God's restrictions.