Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11).
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
Have you ever tried to drive a car along an unfamiliar road on a dark, foggy night? A curtain of mist hems you in and makes the sound of your motor beat with a muffled throb against your ears. You look for landmarks that have been explained to you, but your straining eyes see only the yellow glare a few feet ahead. You wonder whether you have passed the fork in the road that you were advised to take. You determine to ask the driver of the next car you meet; but his lights loom up just as he swerves to avoid hitting you, and he is gone before you can signal for him to stop. Or, if someone does stop, you find that he, too, is trying to find his way. You had started out in happy, confident spirits. Now you are lost and half afraid.
You continue your shrouded journey until the fog lifts, and you can take your bearings. Or perhaps a powerful light cuts a clean path through the blanket of mist and shows you your way. You discover where you are and which way you should be going. The worry and the fear drop from you, and you proceed once again with confidence and a light heart. There is still darkness and some fog. But you’ve found your way, and all is well. You’ve not reached your destination, but you know you’re on the right road. There may be jolts and steep grades ahead, but you are refreshed and made over by the certainty that this road will lead you to your goal.
I was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley of California, famous for its foggy nights in winter. Many times, I’ve driven the few miles home with my driver’s window rolled down, my head thrust out, creeping along at 5 or 10 miles an hour, looking for the painted line in the middle of the road. The fog has been so thick I’ve driven right past our driveway a few times, unable to see even that familiar, longed-for landmark.
There is such a thing in this dying world as “a path of life.” This is presented as leading into fellowship with Him, in whose presence there is fulness of joy. “At Thy right hand, there are pleasures for evermore.” There are two distinct and contrasted ways or lines of life. The one is called “the way of life,” the other is “the way that seemeth right unto a man.” Set the two ways before you and consider it well.
The first thing in journeying is to know where you are going. The one is the way of life because it is a way which can only be traveled by those who live in the full sense of the word. The highest faculty of our nature is that spiritual ability to hold communion with God. And, because it is the only way in which life can be sustained. And further because it leads to life.
Now look at the other way. It “seemeth right unto a man.” Only “seemeth.” But it is not what it seems. It is very popular. Everybody seems to takes it. That does not make its character good, or its end desirable.
“The LORD God is waiting to show how kind he is and to have pity on you. The LORD always does right; he blesses those who trust him” (Isaiah 30:18 CEV).
“And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it…” (Isaiah 30:21).