Ever since the fall of man we've been making the wrong decisions as a race - and - as individuals. The whole world was turned upside down at this event - and man has had his thinking on right and wrong completely ruined. That is what today's proverb deals with - and it is one that we should take very seriously - especially when it comes to spiritual matters - and more than anything, when it comes to salvation.
There is a way that seems right to a man. We truly blew it when we decided to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Ever wonder why this was such a huge blunder. I mean, isn't it a good thing to know the difference between what is good and what is evil? But this is not what entered into the heart of Eve, then Adam when they partook of the fruit of this infamous tree.
They ate of something forbidden by God. In fact, there was only one rule in the garden - just ONE! They were not to eat of the fruit of this one tree. But they chose to eat - and by eating brought the entire creation into futility by their choice to sin against God. We will NEVER be drawn closer to God through disobedience. That is something you can take to the bank every day you live. They were not eating of a tree that would help them know the difference between good and evil. This was not a discernment tree which would help them choose good things the rest of their life. They were wanting to partake of good and evil - they wanted the knowledge of both. The way that seems right to a man is a way that experiences good and evil - and therefore man can choose which he wants. The problem is that once he chooses to DO evil - to ACT evil - to WANT evil - he will be enslaved to it.
There is a way that seems right to a man - which includes knowing evil intimately so he thinks he will be able to choose what is best. But the reality is that the end of this way is the way of death. Jesus said that whoever sins is the slave of sin. We cannot "dabble" in this stuff enough to see the wrong of it - then consistently choose against that wrong. The wrong enslaves - and warps - and lies - and deceives - and in the end, kills.
As we look at this proverb, there is another danger in the "way that seems right to a man." This again proceeds from eating and participating in the knowledge of good and evil. Once the pair had eaten of this fruit - they knew both good and evil. That knowledge made them think that they could reject the evil, choose the good, and become acceptable to God. What was birthed at the foot of this tree was man-made religion. What came to life within the wicked breast of man in that hour was the idea that man can make himself acceptable to God by his works. Do more good than evil - and God will have to accept you. There was a false idea of God that was perpetrated by the devil there - and it was the height of wickedness. Satan said to Eve, that she would not die when she sinned - but that in having the knowledge of good and evil - she would be like God Himself! She herself would then be able to determine what is good as well as what is evil! Birthed in that infamous moment was the lying games of human philosophy as well. The thought that by the working of our own minds we could determine good and evil - as our own little gods!
Since man thought that he could determine what is right and good - there was no need for God. There was no need for the Almighty to grant revelation. We were good enough in ourselves to determine for ourselves what was right and what is wrong. Since that time the heart of man has been a veritable idol-factory. We are experts at fashioning gods of all kinds. Man is hopelessly religious - finding some god that he can worship. Problem is that according to Romans 1 - he finds worship in all the wrong places - looking for god in too many faces. Actually he even looks for God in animals - four-footed creatures - bugs - and in various self-styled versions of himself. Man eventually will have a god of his own making - who will look like, act like, and condone a lifestyle just like the one he is currently living. Anyone who has looked at the pitiful gods of the Greeks and Romans has realized that they were more lecherous and despicable than the men they supposedly ruled over on the earth. We think there is a way that seems right - but it only confirms our previously embraced wickedness and desire for sin.
Hope for mankind lies not in the fashioning of another parthenon of gods, but in communication and mercy from the One True God. There is a way that seems right to man - to each of us - but it is infinitely flawed by sin and selfishness granted to us by our descendants. We are the products of Adam and Eve - and we are after their likeness - and after their sinfulness. Hope comes when we see that God sovereignly reaches down to us and reveals Himself through His Word. There IS a way that is RIGHT - but that way belongs to God and to His revelation of Himself to us through the Scriptures. There is a way that does not lead to death - it leads to life. But that way is through God's provision of life through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. What we need is not our own ideas. We need the life of God - the righteousness of God - and the kindness of God which leads us to repentance. God has made a way - but it is His way. He has made a way - but He did not consult with us as to what it was going to be. When man was embroiled in his sin - in fact before man ever existed or had sinned - God provided a lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. Salvation was - and ever is His idea - His provision - and His act of mercy and grace to us. Oh, that we will remember that - and daily worship Him for His wonderful grace in Jesus Christ.