If only I had paid more attention to the first picture. How hard could this be anyway? It was just an IKEA bed for goodness sake and one of the simplest ones they had. This seemed like an easy project and the instructions had big diagrams for each step. I should have known better as I do not have a good track record of putting IKEA furniture together or anything from that Swedish “store of torture”. Part way through the project I tried to put a screw though a hole like the diagram said only to realize there was no hole to put it through. I had already put a peg in that hole. At that point I did the only thing I could think to do and called in my able assistant Deb. She quickly assessed the situation after looking at the diagram and said “Why did you put a peg there?” Apparently if you used a microscope you could see that every other hole on that side of piece of wood was supposed to have a peg in it, but not that particular one. How had I missed this crucial step? After carefully removing the peg with a pair of plyers, I moved on to the next steps with one very important change. After looking at the first picture again, I realized that the diagram was clearly saying that this was a two person job.
Several hours later after drilling holes that we were not supposed to have to drill and taking apart and reassembling entire sections that we had assembled incorrectly, we finally finished the bed. I was so tired at that point that I nearly jumped in the bed for the night, but I did remember to clean up the mess I had made. As we were putting things away, I looked at my bride of over twenty five years and wondered how many other projects we had done together. We have not always been very good at doing this and can easily get on each other’s nerves, but the older we get, the more that we realize how much we need each other and value each other’s gifts. I am much better when working with her and will never assemble another piece of IKEA furniture without her. Maybe I should apply that kind of thinking to other areas of my life.
For a long time I have struggled to study God’s word. I am not talking about just reading it, I am talking about really understanding it and applying it. While there are many parts of the scriptures that are easy to understand, there are lots of sections that are not. This must be an issue for a lot of other people too as we published a book called “Blurry – Bringing Clarity to the Bible” earlier this year and people are really appreciating it. The trouble is that we have been primarily taught to be like the Bereans who “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” This has led many to adopt a lone ranger Bible study mentality. I think we may need to be more like the Ethiopian who welcomed Phillip into his chariot so that he could better understand what he was reading.
This fall, we joined a home group that is studying the book of Luke and this past week we were going through chapter six where Jesus’ disciples were accused of working on the Sabbath and Jesus himself was criticized for healing on the Sabbath. While I have always found it interesting that the religious leaders of that day were so concerned about this, I assumed this was simply because they wanted to properly follow God’s commandments accurately. What I did not know was that they actually believed that if every person in Israel followed the law perfectly and observed the Sabbath exactly as they understood it for one day they could hasten the arrival of the Messiah. This little insight was shared by a scholar in our group who had obviously studied this passage in much more depth than I had and had done more research. Knowing this transformed my understanding of the passage and made it so much more obvious why Jesus was so reviled by these men. How ironic that they were trying to apply their interpretation of the law to the very Messiah Himself and they never knew it.
The next time I get ready to study the Bible, I plan to be sure to include some resources from people who have studied it much more that I have. We are so blessed to have Bible commentaries, dictionaries, handbooks and concordances to shed light on challenging passages in God’s word. More importantly, I will pursue opportunities to study with people who are hungry to learn and willing to share their insights.