From the introduction to this commentary:
What then is the essence of religious ritual in the Bible? It is a means of communication between God and man, a drama on a stage watched by human and divine spectators. Old Testament rituals express religious truths visually as opposed to verbally. … On the one hand they are dramatized prayers, expressing men’s deepest hopes and fears; on the other hand they are dramatized divine promises or warnings, declaring God’s attitude towards man.