And nothing has changed since then. Even among Christians, you see this. Use a particular verse to bind God to act in a certain way. Pray a certain prayer in a certain way. Do a liturgical act. Get up at a certain time. Read a certain number of Bible verses/chapters a day. The list goes on.
Why? Because we want to be in control! If there is a power behind God that we can get a handle on, we can control our destiny. We don't really believe that God is love, do we? If we did, we wouldn't see a need for all of that stuff...we would be able to "cast our cares upon him" and "take no thought for the morrow" and "in everything give thanks" and...well, you get the idea.