“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness.” – Matthew 6:22 – 23 NIV
We have the writings of some of the prophets of Israel in our hands or on our bookshelves. From Moshe to Malachi, we understand that Hashem has used these great men to help straighten our paths to walk with Hashem. But what about the gentile nations? Do they have prophets? The first two prophets of the bible were not Jewish, but one becomes the father of the jewish people. Therefore, the first biblical non-Jewish prophet was Hanoch. But there is another prophet who served the gentile nations, and that was Bilam.
As you are aware, Balak, the king of Moav was sick with dread when B’nei Israel came near the land under his control. After all, we had defeated Hormah, an enclave of the Amori, and Bashan. Instead of just trying to fight the Israelites, Balak (his name cane be translated to mean devastator), decided to fight this battle first on the spiritual level in hope this would weaken his opponent to be defeated in this world. Therefore, the prestige and honor that went before Bilam provided the hope Balak desired to defeat the Israelites.
Bilam warned the king of Moav that in this particular case, by saying, “If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of Hashem, to do either good or bad of my own will? What the LORD speaks, that will I speak.”
In spite of his best efforts to deceive Hashem by hiding his ulterior motives, Bilam was unable to curse the Children of Israel. I find it interesting that if Bilam was unsuccessful at cursing Israel, why didn’t he simply bless the Moabites? It’s because he is a vindictive, bitter man and it is not in his nature to bless. The power of Bilam is in his Ayin Hara, and there is no light in him.
- Ayin hara (the evil eye) – this represents a person who looks at other people with envy and greed, and lives a stingy lifestyle.
- Ayin tov (the good eye) – this represents someone who looks at other people with compassion and generosity.
The only way to defeat the Israelites was by using their kindness and generosity – their ayin tov – against them, and the enemies of Israel accomlished this by parading their woman before them to encourage assimilation, and this caused the death of 24,000.
The ayin hara is a powerful tool and it often reveals itself as loshon hara. It will erode the faith and fortitude of those nearby. It’s a contagion that flows from one person to another. We need to be careful of our speech and what we say to one another. A simple disparaging word can plant seeds of discord that sows sadness, disruption, and death. You may not cause the death of 24,000 by saying a bad word about someone, but if your words have a negative effect upon your target, that effect may also stretch forth to upon that person’s progeny, and it reveals that the light within you is darkness, and how great is that darkness. Imitate Messiah and make sure your eyes are good, then your whole body will be full of light.