Solomon begins Proverbs 14:12-15 talking about a verse that describes one of the biggest challenges that we face as humans – things that seem right but aren’t. Proverbs often speaks of the way, the path of life a man or woman walks upon. Solomon observed that this way often seems right to a man. Their path of life seems fine to them, and they wonder why God or anyone else would have a different opinion. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death”. Though it seems right, it isn’t right – it leads to death. Wisdom understands that what may seem right to a man isn’t necessarily right; it can in fact be the way of death. We must be careful to only let God’s wisdom and God’s ways provide us direction.

This makes plain our need for a revelation from God. We can’t entirely trust our own thoughts and judgment. To really know we are on the way of life (instead of the way of death), we need to fear the LORD and receive His wisdom, especially as revealed in His word. We may be able to deceive ourselves into thinking all is well, but it isn’t. The person who often laughs is not always happy. The outward expression of laughter may be used to mask great sorrow in the heart. “Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief”. Laughter may do more than mask sorrow; it may very well end in grief. We can be grateful for laughter but not if it keeps us from the fear of the LORD and the wisdom associated with it.

Solomon next tackles those who chose not to continually walk with God. Those who decline in their relationship and obedience to God by letting it slide will suffer from it, even if their decline is only in their heart. Their own backsliding ways will come upon them. A backslider slides back with an easy, effortless motion, softly, quietly, perhaps unsuspected by himself or anybody else.  Things may appear fine, but they truly are not. “The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways”. In contrast, the wise ones who do good enjoy God’s blessing and the satisfaction that comes from Him.  They are not deceived and their heart is in tune with God and His ways.

There are lots of false truths around us.  First and foremost are the multitude of things available online, many of which are certainly untrue. The man or woman who lacks wisdom (the simple) has little ability to discern truth from falsehood. They believe everyone, especially if they seem sincere. They have little or not basis for discernment because they haven’t made learning God’s wisdom a focus of their life. “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps”. In contrast, the wise man or woman doesn’t believe everything is as it first appears. While they do think carefully about others, they give even more consideration to their own steps. They put what they see, hear, read or are told against the filter of God’s truth.  That is the only source of complete truth.

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