If we're to be honest, most of us give little, if any, regard to the fourth commandment: Sabbath. Our assumption is that it's an easily fulfilled commandment that can be crossed off the list, weekly. Namely, Sabbath has become associated with church on Sunday and/or having the day off. According to Allender, this is not a Sabbath. Rather, Allender presents an alternative perspective challenging the so-called norms of what it means to really Sabbath without all the legalistic connotations typically associated with the term.
A day of Sabbath is a day of delight. In order to participate in a day of Sabbath, one must ask what it is that brings them most delight. The Sabbath is sensual. Delight is experienced with the senses in what we see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. Sabbath activities include, but are not limited to: enjoying savory food, drinking expensive wine, listening to good music, worship, sex, reading, conversations, going for a walk, being quiet, etc., while experiencing holiness and God's presence in each. Sabbath does not involve a particular day (i.e., Sunday). Nor does it necessarily involve going to church, taking an afternoon nap and preparing for the week to come.
It is worth noting that Allender presents this material from first hand experience. Not only does he teach Sabbath classes at The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology (formerly known as Mars Hill Graduate School), but he and his wife routinely practice the Sabbath together, making his writings credible. That is, Sabbath as taught by Allender can really be experienced and many of such personal experiences are shared within this book. That being said, I highly recommend reading Sabbath by Dan Allender. It is an easy read and leaves the reader craving an experience with God in a day of Sabbath.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÂ®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
The fourth commandment, found in Exodus 20, is "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." Because this is one of the Ten Commandments, Allender writes this book about the importance of observing this day of the week. Delighting in this day is a prevalent theme throughout the book. "The Sabbath is an invitation to enter delight. The Sabbath, when experienced as God intended, is the best day of our lives" (p. 4). Allender gives personal examples and suggestions of how to delight in this day, especially through enjoying God's creation. He recognizes the fact that most Christians do not observe this day or even think twice about it.
This book, overall, has some interesting points to ponder regarding how to observe the Sabbath, points that I have never given much thought to before. For example, delighting in the day, rather than just resting and not working, is a new thought to me. I have tended to be somewhat legalistic on how to approach the Sabbath, so this book was refreshing in that regard. Experiencing new parts of God's amazing creation brings us into closer relationship with Him and is something we can truly delight in. It gave me a new perspective.
On the other hand, Allender did not address the issue of rest, other than saying there is more to the Sabbath than that, or that one doesn't necessarily even have to rest at all. In the passage in Exodus above, God commands His creation to rest and make it holy. Other passages throughout the Bible indicate this concept as well, such as when Moses was leading the Israelites in the wilderness and they were to collect manna for the day before the Sabbath as well as the Sabbath. While I understand the need to make it holy in ways other than rest, not working, and not being caught up in legalism, I thought leaving this important piece out of the equation did not do justice to these Sabbath verses.
I would recommend this book to someone looking for new ways to approach the Sabbath. Otherwise, I was somewhat disappointed. I was hoping for a book encompassing the whole of the Sabbath, to challenge me. I have read books by Allender before and have appreciated his writing, but in my opinion, this is not one of his best books.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com book review bloggers program.
Very point blank, Dan Allendar writes from the viewpoint that the Sabbath is not just merely a day to go to church with like-minded people, but a day to revel in God's splendor. His allegorical style of writing can seem a bit choppy at times but he gets the point across. Slowly, we are guided as to how we can change our prosaic lifestyles.
A study guide is provided in the back so one can pause and reflect upon the words expressed within the book. The ideas are so different and non-conforming as to what most churched people are used to hearing that time for reflection is needed and encouraged.