There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
You are your own worst enemy. You will cause yourself more pain and trouble than any ten foes. Your own soul is the deadliest danger in your life. With such warnings, men would never trust their own thoughts, right? Wrong! While you are destroying your own life, you will think what you are doing is perfectly right. You will never see the danger.
Other proverbs also teach this warning. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Pr 16:25). “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise” (Pr 12:15). “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered” (Pr 28:26).
Some choices bring physical death. Consider David’s sons. Amnon thought it right to rape his sister: he died for it (II Sam 13:1-39). Absalom thought it right to steal his father’s kingdom: he died for it (II Sam 15:1-6; 18:1-18). Adonijah thought it right to use Solomon’s mother to beg for Abishag: he died for it (I Kgs 2:12-25).
Some choices bring soul death. Samson thought it right to date an unbeliever, but she left him blind and destroyed, grinding in a prison (Jdgs 16:1-21). Solomon thought it right to marry unbelievers, but they turned his heart to idolatry (I Kgs 11:1-13). Rehoboam thought it right to prefer his young counselors, but he lost ten tribes (I Kgs 12:1-19).
Some choices bring eternal death – or the second death – which is eternal torment in the lake of fire (Rev 20:14). All liars shall have their part in the lake of fire (Rev 21:8), and so will all fornicators (Rev 21:8). A surprise to most, the fearful and the unbelieving will also be there beside the abominable and murderers (Rev 21:8). The only escape from this death is to be written in the book of life of those Jesus died for (Rev 2:11; 20:6,15).
Your heart is deceitful above all things (Jer 17:9). It lies to you more than anyone else, but you believe your heart. It is desperately wicked, so its lies are always toward folly and sin. Because your heart is so deceitful and wicked, you cannot fully grasp its danger to you, apart from Scripture’s warnings. The verse concludes, “Who can know it?”
Why do you instinctively and confidently think your ideas are better than others? This is the arrogant folly of narcissistic self-love. This is the damning delusion of assumed superiority. It is due to your pride, the sin of the devil (I Tim 3:6). You arrived in life dirtying yourself several times a day and survived only because parents did everything for you, but in a few years you think you know more than them and everyone else!
Child, you think you can disobey a parent. You lose (Pr 30:17)! Wife, you think you can withhold from your husband. You lose (Pr 30:21-23)! Husband, you think you can neglect your wife. You lose (Pr 5:15-23)! Young man, you think you can play with whores. You lose (Pr 7:25-27)! Parent, you think child training is too hard. You lose (Pr 29:15)! Pastor, you think you can alter God’s word or His worship. You lose (Pr 21:16)!
Instead of feeling and thinking, you should be listening and learning. Ideas generated from the inside are always inferior to those found in the Bible, which are from God’s heart and mind. You can actually hear a person’s deceitful and desperately wicked heart when they say things like, “I have a peace about it,” or, “I think that way is wrong,” or, “I don’t feel that such is right,” or, “My heart tells me that you are wrong.” What nonsense!
Safety is only by mistrusting your heart; obeying your teachers, parents, and counselors; bringing every thought into captive obedience to Scripture; and keeping your heart there with all diligence (Pr 4:23; II Cor 10:4-6). Do not ever let your mind think outside the word of God (Ps 119:128). Which means you must learn it, and learn it well (Ps 119:11). Do not ever allow the profane thought you can get away with disobeying (De 29:18-20).