I love the way Allender unfolds the true meaning of the Sabbath while expelling the myths and traditional restrictions that have burdened the Day sullied its name. With every chapter and every concept, the Sabbath is redressed with God’s original plan for communing with man.
The Sabbath is less about refraining from toil and work and more about being renewed and revived. It is less about what you don’t do on the Sabbath Day and more about what you do in the joy of the Lord. It is less about a ritual and more about a state of fellowship and worship. “The Sabbath is a day of sensuality when we say to one another, ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good'” (p. 66).
I remember growing up with Sabbath rules and sunset times that made by Sabbaths long and tedious. I also remember the freedom that came when I allowed relationship with God and my special time with Him dictate what I would and would not do on His Holy Day. The book highlights the essence of the Sabbath, encouraging the reader to focus of strengthening your relationship with God and rejoicing in Him rather than being burdened by the guilt of proper observance. True Sabbath observance is a natural consequence when you are in true communion with God and your community.
As much as I love this book and as biased as I am towards it as a Sabbath keeper, I have only one gripe about the book. While all of the reasons Allender gives in support of a Sabbath-keeping lifestyle are biblical, he is quite ready to compromise on the actual day of the Sabbath.”It doesn’t matter what day you enter the Sabbath, “he says on page 3. Giving the example of ministers who are usually the busiest over the weekends, he condones the keeping of Monday or Friday as the Sabbath.
The same Bible that so well outlines the beauty and joy and grace found in fellowshipping with God on the Sabbath Day is very clear on the actual day of the Sabbath–“Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God” (Exodus 20:9). The call to Sabbath-observance is about the entire commandant, including the day– and not just the spirit of the commandment.
As a Sabbath keeper, the book was an absolute delight; as a Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath keeper, the idea of rescheduling God’s designated holy day made me cringe.