By Pastor Jeff
My son, Trey, and I love to watch the TV show “Man vs. Wild” on the Discovery Channel. For those of you that have never watched it let me give you a quick synopsis of it. It is about a man who gets dropped in various wilderness settings and then he has to spend days in the elements of his
environment showing the viewers how to survive. He is always dropped off in harsh settings like in the desert, arctic, jungle, or even in an alligator infested swamp. I guess the funny thing about this show is that he always makes his way to civilization using only a knife and his knowledge of the wild. During this time he has to make crucial decisions on which path to take in order to survive. He eats native plants, grubs, raw fish, and even makes fire from damp firewood. I guess one of the things that always sticks with me every time I watch these episodes is the fact that the host often explains that getting out of this situation is determined by the critical decisions he will have to make. The path he chooses is the most important decision.
The truth is the path we choose in life is equally important. Sometimes during the show you as the viewer can see how easy it is to go off on a path you think is the right path. I mean it looks good and feels safe, but in a matter of minutes what you thought was the right path can very quickly turn to the wrong path and you find yourself plunging off a cliff you hadn’t seen, being trapped on a ledge you can’t get off of, or, even worse, falling through ice and finding yourself trapped underneath without any hope of escape. It’s a pretty cool show, you should watch it. Some of you might be saying what does this have to do with Proverbs well I am glad you asked.
“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” Proverbs 14:12 NLT or “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12 NKJV
The really unique thing about us as humans is the simple fact that we have the freedom to do practically anything we want and one of those is the freedom to make choices and because of this we often get ourselves into trouble.
We make thousands of choices everyday – some of them are trivial while others consist of major life choices. Many of these choices can yield either a positive or negative result in our life and even in the lives of all of those around us.
Here is what I have found to be true so many times in life when we are faced with major decisions; we seek out those whom we have deemed to be wise. The Bible is a perfect place to start.
Proverbs was penned by the wisest natural man who ever lived, King Solomon. God appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked him what he wanted and out of all the things that Solomon could have asked for, he requested an “understanding heart” or wisdom and because of his request, God granted Solomon wisdom beyond human capability.
What I find interesting about taking the right path is that there are several scriptures weaved throughout the Bible that talk about this.
Proverbs 16:25 says “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
Proverbs 12:15 says “The way of a fool seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.”
Proverbs 21:2 says, “People may be right in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their heart.”
We always seem to replay our decisions over and over in our head and say to ourselves it seemed like a good idea at the time. I mean it seemed like a good decision until we set back and watched it explode all over us and all of those around us.
Romans 6:21 tells us: “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!”
I have come to the conclusion that the Bible is right when it says in 1 Peter 5:8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
The enemy doesn’t want you or I to take the right path, he doesn’t want us to make the right decisions. Listen to me today certain paths in life that we choose to take if we aren’t careful will be paths that will distract us from our faith, disable our witness, and/or destroy our Christianity.
“The direction you’re going determines the destination you’ll arrive at,” says Andy Stanley, and it’s the same way with the decisions you and I both make in our lives. We need to choose our paths carefully because if we don’t we could end up in some places we don’t want to go, and we might even end up in some places that we will regret.
I have come to the conclusion that in life not every path is worth taking, not every path will take you where you want to go, and some of those paths will hurt you. But I have learned not to lean on my own understanding and trust fully in Him, He will make my paths straight and if we watch the path of our feet all our ways will be established.