We sorely underestimate many verses in the Bible. Proverbs 16:25 must sit near the top of the list. It reads: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” The Bible magnifies this verse’s importance by quoting it again in Proverbs 14.
This verse emphasizes the deceitful nature of sin. The end-is-the-way-of-death part jars us. Of the two clauses which make up the verse, the last part stands out because of the word “death.” The terminal nature of the verse captivates attention, but often the first clause hides away. I wonder if God made this to subtlety function with an intent to re-enforce on another level sin’s sleight of hand.
Careless readers overlook the sinister dynamic of sin on display in that first clause. It says, “There is a way which seems right.” Why does the way end in death? Because the travelers’ eyes fail behind a veil of deceit. Sin persuades and blinds. Why do the travelers not get off the dead end road? Because they can’t imagine how it possibly ends in death. Like gallery goers looking at the Rubin Vase, the person in the proverb only sees one version of the painted image. Friends scream, “can’t you see the two faces in the art?!” But no, he only sees the vase.
In a similar way, we look at the evil actions or shocking failures or unbecoming words of others and ask mysterious questions like:
How could she do that?
Why would he say that?
How does he believe that?
The answer: that way seems right…
…because deceitful sin has dealt its deadly hand, by making the way of death seem right.
We must not…must not…not ever underestimate the power of sin to blind and persuade and make the deadly ways seem right. Once this happens, the way back becomes steep and difficult. O, how sin crouches at the door…with Timothy, we must keep close watch on our life and doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16).
God, give us grace. Watch out for us and make us watchful. Give us help and make the way of life seem right.