Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what was our father’s he has acquired all this wealth.” And Jacob saw the countenance of Laban, and indeed it was not favorable toward him as before. (Genesis 31:1-2)
Messiah said that those who have a “good eye” are full of light meaning that those who are described in this way exhibit characteristics that mark them as the children of light. A “good eye” is a Hebrew idiom for someone who is generous and selfless. Conversely, to have a “bad eye” describes someone who is greedy and full of envy which is, in turn, an indication of just how dark their life is (Matthew 6:23). It seems fair to say that Laban and his sons had a “bad eye.”
How else could you explain why someone who has prospered due to their son-in-law’s presence have the notion that the source of their blessing had stolen from them? Jealousy and greed ran deep within Laban and his sons and, consequently, forever marked them as antagonists towards God’s people. It is that jealousy and antagonism that eventually led to Jacob’s return to Canaan.
So what can you and I learn from this? First of all, we need to be leery of the green-eyed monster called Jealousy. Our first reaction to another’s prosperity shouldn’t provoke envy within us. If God is blessing our neighbor we should be happy for them. If the Almighty is bestowing favor upon them, we shouldn’t long for their defeat but shouldn’t seek His favor as well. Also if someone in our life is being blessed and their blessing is positively affecting your life, don’t be so mindless as to cut them out of your life. All you are doing in that situation is cutting your nose off to spite your face.
Jealousy and greed are attributes that we, as God’s people, need to avoid. In fact, according to Paul, covetousness and envy are characteristics displayed by those who have been given over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:29). Instead, let the light that is in us provoke us to have a “good eye” toward our family and fellow man. In this way, the LORD will be well pleased.
Blessings and Shalom,