A Way that Seemeth Right
1. This verse is identical in every way (meaning and words) to Proverbs 14:12.
A Way that Seemeth Right
1. A way that SEEMS right…
a. Implicit in this statement is the fact that it is NOT right… it only SEEMS right.
b. Because a way SEEMS right… or feels right… or because a man has a hunch that it is right, does not MAKE it so.
c. Solomon is WARNING here about a certain kind of folly… the man who THINKS he is right… when in fact, he is not.
2. This makes SELF the standard of right and wrong.
a. Solomon is warning against a kind of pride that exalts our own opinion above everything else…
• If it seems right to ME… then it must be right!
• MY opinion is to take precedent over everything and everyone else.
• We are all infected with this disease. We make so many decisions in life based on how things appear to self. “It seems right to me.”
• Jas. 4:13-15 – It sure SEEMED like a good plan! But James tells us that we ought to say, “If the Lord will”
• In other words, HIS opinion is what counts… His opinion is of much more value than mine!
• And don’t we often think like these businessmen?
b. The attitude described in this proverb puts one’s own opinion above the facts… and that is always dangerous!
• Solomon describes a man whose mind is made up because it SEEMS right to him.
• This can be dangerous too… when we have a dream or a plan or a desire… and seek to carry it out.
• Sometimes we have so immersed ourselves in the project that we think we have passed the point of no return… and are now BENT on finishing the project…
• We can become blinded by tunnel vision because we are so bent on doing what SEEMS right to us.
• This might include any number of decisions: buying a house; changing jobs; moving to Florida; getting married; choosing a college; etc…
• The warning here is, “Don’t allow your opinion of what SEEMS right to you blind you to the facts!”
• Some folks are so bent on doing what they have determined to do that they will not even listen to the facts!
• It is dangerous to think we are SO RIGHT in everything… that we cannot listen.
c. Some put their own opinion above common sense.
• I’m sure we can all look back over our lives and look at some real foolish decisions we have made.
• With hindsight, it seems pretty foolish… like we were not thinking… we lack common sense.
• But at the time, it SEEMED so right…
• We can become so opinionated, and that sense of SEEMING right can be so overwhelming, that it blinds us to common sense.
d. Some put their own opinion above the godly counsel of good Christian friends. You can’t talk them out of their folly.
• Have you ever known a person who continually uses poor judgment… makes bad decisions?
• That person is headed for destruction… the ways of death.
• Have you tried to give counsel… to offer help… only to see your counsel rejected because he thinks his way is the only right way?
• Prov. 12:1 – he that hates reproof is brutish. Usually men hate reproof because they are enamored by their own opinion… and are convinced that they are right… hence, listening to anyone else seems pointless to them.
• Their own way seems so right to them, that they will not listen. That is a dangerous course according to this proverb. It could lead to death!
e. This attitude puts one’s own opinion above God’s Word!
• The ultimate in conceit… exalting our own opinion even above God’s Word.
• Believe it or not, this DOES happen… and yes, even to Christians.
• It seems so right for us to get married! We’re in love… even though one is not a believer!
• It seems so right for me to take this job! It will solve all my financial problems! (Even though there is not a sound church in the area!)
• A lot of things SEEM right at first. The devil is a master at making things SEEM right.
• The devil made eating the forbidden fruit SEEM right to Eve. (Gen.3:3-6) She listened to the devil and what he said SEEMED right to her…
• Things that might be very wrong can seem right.
3. It indicates that often men make decisions based on hunches and assumptions and feelings.
a. This attitude presents itself in various forms today: “If it feels good, do it!” “If it feels right it must be right.” “How can something that feels so right be wrong?”
b. Feelings, hunches and assumptions are terrible standards for determining whether something is right or wrong.
c. God has given us His Word. That is the proper standard. It contains all we need for life and godliness.
d. If something feels right… or seems right… take it to the Lord in prayer… and open His Word…
The Root Problem: SELF Confidence
1. It is hard for rich people to humble themselves (Luke 18:25).
a. People with lots of money find it hard to put themselves on the same level as peons and paupers.
b. But unless a man sees himself as God sees him (a sinner—and we are ALL sinners in the same boat)… he can never be saved. He can never enter the kingdom.
2. It is equally hard for intelligent people (and those who think they are) to humble themselves and come to God on His terms… (I Cor. 1:19-20)
a. When things SEEM right to a supremely intelligent man…
b. I Cor. 1:26 – not many wise men are called… because they are too SET in their own intellectualism to humble themselves before the wisdom of God.
c. The common people gladly heard Him. For the most part, the upper crust rejected Christ.
d. It is hard for an intellectual to admit that a little child might have more wisdom than he does… that a little child has a better grasp as to how the universe came into existence than he does…
e. His intellectual ways SEEM right to him… but if they run contrary to the truth of God’s Word, he is BLINDED by what SEEMS right to him.
f. He is trusting in his wisdom and intellect. He is leaning on his own understanding. He is confident that his opinion is superior.
3. Self-confidence leads to self-delusion.
a. Prov. 16:2 – every way is right in our own eyes.
b. We see life from the slant we CHOOSE to see… from rose-colored glasses when it is convenient.
c. If seems right to me. “Don’t confuse me with the facts.”
4. Psa. 20:7 – The Jews were also inclined on many occasions to trust in their military strength… instead of trusting in the Lord.
a. Doesn’t this SEEM right? It does to the natural mind.
• If you are facing a foe, then the sensible thing seems to be to count your soldiers and chariots…
• Building up a huge military SEEMED like the right thing to do…
• Except, God said NOT to. (not to multiply horses; not to count their armies)
• Things that seem so right to the natural way of looking at life are often WRONG in God’s sight.
• But God doesn’t want us to walk by sight, or feelings, or hunches… but by His Word.
b. Ps. 33:16-17 – it is VAIN to trust in such things. It might SEEM sensible to trust in such things… but it is NOT sensible spiritually. Trust in God!
c. Isa. 55:7-8 – God’s ways are not our ways.
• Abandon your ways when contrary to His!
• His ways are infinitely above our ways. And we are not wise to exalt our opinions above His!
5. Prov. 26:12 – there is more hope for a fool than a man who trusts in himself… in his own conceit… (conceited over his inflated view of himself: his intellect, wisdom, strength, etc.)
a. Prov. 28:26 – trusting in our own heart is folly…
The Ways of Death
1. When a man becomes so sure that his way is RIGHT as to ignore the facts and operate on the basis of hunches, feelings, and assumptions, he has put confidence in himself.
a. He himself has become the standard of right and wrong.
b. And that has serious consequences attached to it.
c. It could lead to death ultimately! It is a slippery slope.
2. The warning of the proverb:
a. Self-confidence leads to self-delusion… it seems right to him.
b. Self-delusion leads to self-destruction… the ways of death.
3. This is especially dangerous with respect to the plan of salvation.
a. It SEEMS right to assume that if we’re good, God will accept us; if we’re bad, He’ll reject us.
b. That ways seems right, but it is NOT what the Bible says. The Bible says we are saved by FAITH… period.
c. But it leads to death! Eternal destruction in the lake of fire!
4. This is also dangerous with respect to the plan of sanctification.
a. It SEEMS right to assume that if we employ self-discipline, we will be holy!
b. It seems right, but it is not.
c. Self-discipline is not the MEANS of holiness. It is the FRUIT of holiness. (Temperance is the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit)
d. The means of holiness is the cross… living the crucified life by faith… we are sanctified by faith.
5. What we NEED is to know the Bible… more and more thoroughly… better and better… deeper and deeper.
a. When we learn the Scriptures, it KEEPS us from trusting in ourselves… it reveals to us the way that doesn’t just SEEM right… but IS right!
b. Let’s be faithful in reading His Word each day. We need it!
c. We are all infected with the disease Solomon describes in this proverb: self-confidence.
d. Be reminded that self-confidence leads to self-delusion… and that to self-destruction!