“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” —Proverbs 16:25
What way “appears to be right?” If we are going to understand what
this means and how to avoid it then we had better avoid the temptation
to jump to conclusions about this. On the surface, the meaning seems
obvious. The patterns of sin lead to death. But the Proverbs were not
written to pagans who were steeped in sin. The Israelites knew about sin
and how sin leads to death. God spoke through the laws and the prophets
to make sure that his people understood this. They knew the difference
between right and wrong.
Breaking the law does not appear to be right.
So what might this mean? Let me suggest that it means something like
this: Doing what is right because it is right leads to death. It’s a
masked death, one that looks good on the outside, but it eats us up from
the inside out.
God is seeking covenant partners who will enter into loving
relationship with him, not robotic rule followers. Following the rules
is not the same thing as following Jesus. Taking up our cross and
following Jesus is about relationship and through this experience, we
are transformed from the inside out.