Proverbs 14:12

A Way which Seemeth Right


There is a way which seemeth right unto a man…

1.) Here Solomon states that there are “ways” or “roads” in life that SEEM right.

a. This is a warning to us all. His point is that just because it SEEMS right, that doesn’t mean it IS right.

b. The thought seems to be that while:
• The way of sin, evil, and open wickedness is obviously wrong… and obviously leads to death…
• There may be other roads that lead to death that aren’t quite so obvious.
• They SEEM right and safe… but are not.
• That is the gist of this verse.

2.) Note the words, unto a man.

a. This means that it seems right to man… but certainly not to God.

b. It may seem right to the natural man… or even to a carnal believer… but that doesn’t mean it is right.

c. Things that SEEM right from our perspective are often wrong from God’s eternal, heavenly perspective.
• Abortion seems right to many men. It has led to thousands and thousands of deaths in this country and around the world.
• Homosexuality seems right to many men. But not to God. And it has led to thousands of deaths through aids.
• Abolishing the death penalty seems right to many men today… but it only leads to more death and more murders.
• Persecuting Christians has in the past and continues to the present to SEEM right in the eyes of some men. Paul thought it was right to take Christians to prison and execute them. (John 16:2)
• Suicide bombers THINK that what they are doing is right. It SEEMS right to them… twisted thinking.

d. Things that seem right to men, are not always right in God’s sight.

e. It is very easy for things that are dead wrong to SEEM right to us.

f. Because our minds have been affected by the fall, it is possible that concept of right and wrong is twisted.

g. Vice sometimes is passed off as virtue.
• Covetousness is passed off as being a “good steward”
• Laziness is passed off as “resting in the Lord”
• Cowardice be disguised as “meekness”
• Pride is often cloaked in “false humility”
• Things aren’t always as they SEEM… even in our own lives.
• That which SEEMS right… isn’t always right.

h. Therefore, if we are wise and know this… we will want to SATURATE our minds and hearts with God’s Word…so that our minds can be renewed… and that wrong thinking can be straightened out.

i. If we know this, we will seek counsel. Often times another person is able to see our blind spots better than we can.

j. Our sense of right and wrong is not always in harmony with God and His Word. We need to make adjustments to our thinking and our practice.

k. In a room with 100 people, you may get 100 different views on the RIGHT thing to do. What SEEMS right to men is based upon human ideas… human thoughts… a very subjective standard… and not very reliable.

l. That’s why we need an OBJECTIVE standard: God’s Word.

m. Isa. 55:8-9 – God’s thoughts are not our thoughts.

3.) There are lots of reasons WHY some ways SEEM right to us.

a. Sometimes it is because this way is easier… and convenient…
• Why take the harder route? The easy route often SEEMS right…
• Why read that whole book when I can do my report on the Cliff notes. After all, I’m not going to be an English major!

b. Sometimes, it is because this is the way everyone else is taking.
• If that many people are taking it, it MUST be right!
• If everyone in the office is doing it… or if all the kids in my class are doing it… it must not be so bad!

c. Sometimes this way seems right because of pride.
• We THINK we know more than the people who warned us against it.
• “I know I’ve been told that doing it this way is wrong, but who are they to tell me? Who do they think they are?”

d. Sometimes such a route might seem right because the dangers are not visible or obvious to the inexperienced.
• That’s why Proverbs was written—to give wisdom to the inexperienced!
• Young people often do not see the danger… and can’t understand WHY something is wrong.
• They think those giving warnings are exaggerating… going overboard… worry warts… etc.
• So to them, it’s ok.

e. Sometimes it’s because we have an it won’t happen to me attitude. This too is pride.
• They see others walking down that route and nothing happened to them… (Cf. Ecc. 8:11-13)

f. Sometimes it is because sin is a deceiver.
• Sin blinds men to the truth.
• Sin is presented in a veneer of fun, but under that mask is the way of death!
• Alcohol; drugs; illicit sex; tobacco; fast cars; —all are advertised with a cool cover…
• Ps. 30:6 – when things SEEM to be going well… a person may SEEM to be safe… but all is illusion.

g. Sometimes it is because of worldly thinking.
• We might begin to think that “my parents” and “my church” are so old fashioned.
• Times have changed. This way isn’t wrong any more.

h. Sometimes it is because we are so touchy feely in our thinking.
• “If it feels so good, how could it be wrong?”
• I have had believers tell me this—living in sin, yet saying, “God understands… we love each other.”

4.) Sometimes this is just a justification for doing what we really WANT to do… and we pretend we think it is right. God knows our heart.

a. Those who want to drink find it easy to justify their actions… and make it seem “right.” (Show me a Bible verse that says it’s wrong!)

b. Those who are living in immorality find it easy to justify their lifestyle too… and make it seem “right.”

c. Those who are walking in worldliness and sensuality can always find some reason to justify their actions to make it SEEM right…

d. Prov. 16:2 – ALL the ways of man are right in his own eyes.
• Men have figured out a way to justify virtually anything and everything under the sun!
• Whatever a man is personally involved in, he can justify to his own twisted way of thinking.
• Kids learn this trick instinctively… how to justify their actions…

But the end thereof are the ways of death.

1.) Prov. 9:13-18 – those who follow the immoral woman are pursuing a course that leads to death and hell.

2.) Prov.11:19 – pursuing ANY path of evil is pursuing death.

3.) “The ways of death”

a. This does not mean that if you follow a wrong path you will necessarily die from it.

b. But rather, Solomon is saying that someone who LIVES this way… is headed in a direction that leads to sin… and more sin… and more sin… and eventually death.

c. Those who THINK they are right… those who have chosen a pathway in life that SEEMS right but is not right are headed in a dangerous direction.

4.) Solomon’s point is that these folks are deluded… self deluded.

a. They convinced themselves that a road that leads to destruction is really the RIGHT road to take!

b. Ps. 81:11-12 – people FEEL safe… and things may SEEM to be right… when they have rejected counsel.
• This is self-delusion… and is deadly!

c. Prov. 30:12 – they THINK they are pure, but are filthy.
• Hence, there will be consequences to that filth that they did not take into consideration!

d. Ps. 10:6 – sometimes such folks are in a state of denial: Nothing could ever happen to me. It SEEMS so right… then BANG!

e. I Thess. 5:3 – people may THINK that all is well… and it may SEEM like all is well. But that doesn’t make it so.

f. Rev. 3:17 – To the Laodiceans it SEEMED like they were doing things RIGHT… and it seemed like all was well in the church… when in fact, things were not well at all!

g. As believers, we need to PROVE ALL THINGS. Things are not always as they seem. Let God’s Word shine its light on our heart and our ways. His way doesn’t just SEEM right. It IS right!

5.) Unsaved folks think this way… (Matt. 7:13-14; 21-22).

a. They have assumed that because they are religious that all is right before God. They will discover that their religion may well be leading them to hell!

b. They may have convinced themselves they are saved (because they go to church; because their parents are saved; because they said a prayer one day; etc.)… but they may discover one day in Hell… that they were kidding themselves in thinking they were saved…

c. It SEEMED right… but it was all appearance and show… no reality. It leads to death… eternal condemnation!

Back to Top

Back to Proverbs Ch. 14 Index

Back to Main Proverbs Index