The Book of Lists #2 says that a firefly is not a fly, it’s a beetle; a silkworm is not a worm, it’s a caterpillar; an English horn is not English and not a horn, it’s an alto oboe from France; a guinea pig is not from Guinea and is not a pig, it’s from South America and it’s a rodent; and a banana tree is not a tree, it’s a herb. Things are not what they seem!
We don’t need a book of lists to know that. Some days I feel 92 but I’m not (yet). The sunshine outside looks warm and inviting, but the thermometer says it is -40 degrees. The ice on the lake is clear and looks safe, but it is only an inch thick. Our eyes can fool us. So can our hearts.
God says we need to watch out for what seems to be. He says: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is the way of death.”
Deception can destroy a person physically, mentally, emotionally, morally and spiritually. What seems right can lead into poor health or even death, confuse the mind and render rational thought impossible, play on the emotions causing tremendous confusion, or drag an unthinking person into moral and spiritual bankruptcy.
Some biblical examples of deception:
- A desire to be like God triggered two people made in His image into doing what He said would destroy them... the forbidden fruit only looked good.Murder, adultery or any other sins seem wrong to those not caught in the deception, yet to those who are deceived, they actually seem right, even up until the victim is destroyed or hopelessly scarred by the consequences. Is there no way out for someone caught by lies?
- Confidence in the power of retaliation (it seemed right) led Moses to kill a man rather than rely on God to vindicate His people.
- Lies by the Gibeonites duped the Israelites into making friends with a nation that actually intended their destruction.
- Lust deceived a king into thinking it was okay to take another man’s wife and kill her husband (it felt good).
Thank God, there is a way that is right; a way that leads to life not death; a way that can be found, even by those who are most deceived. That way is Jesus Christ. He even called Himself “the way.”
But first, how does a deceived person even begin to know whether or not they are deceived? Or how can they even want to know? For them, the true way, God’s way, will not “seem” right.
The Bible says that on their own, people are spiritually blind. All follow with what seems right to them and haven’t a hope of discovering anything different — unless the Spirit of God moves in to convince us otherwise. In John 16:8 Jesus told the disciples that when He was resurrected and gone to heaven, He would send the Holy Spirit, and “when he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment...” Without the Spirit, “There is no one that understands, there is no one that seeks after God” (Romans 3:11). Everyone continues down the path that “seems right.”
When the Spirit came, His task of opening human understanding to the things of God and showing people that God is righteous, hates sin, and will judge it, has turned millions from a deceptive life. Those who respond to Him and call out to God for mercy discover that mercy has already been extended: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
So faith in the One who called Himself “The Way” is the only way out of that other way that only seems to be the right way!