Jacob, in this passage, reveals so much about himself and all of us. The passage begins with Rachel being angry about the fact that she has no children. In Jacob’s reply, we see his theology is correct–God is God over the womb. Jacob has no control, nor does Rachel. However, in his actions, he denies the very truth he just proclaimed. Rachel offers her servant to Jacob so that she might have children through her. (Sound familiar? Grandpa did the same thing) In one breath Jacob seems to recognize that God is in control and will give them children as he wishes, however, in the next breath, he displays a complete lack of faith and sleeps with his wife’s servant. Lest we look at Jacob’s action and think we would respond differently, let’s look at our own lives.
Many of us have good theology. We know what God has said in his Word and we say that it is true and right. But so often, we don’t live as though it is our authority. Our actions don’t match our words. We know that we are to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us, but we often gossip about those who we don’t like. Is there any hope for us? Do we really believe? We could ask that question of Jacob. Did he really believe God was sovereign over the womb when he acted on Rachel’s request? Do we really believe the Scripture when we continually act contrary to it? It is when we ask this question that we see the gospel. When Jacob sleeps with Rachel’s servant, God blesses, in spite of Jacob’s action. Through Jacob, we receive the Promise. The Messiah. Our Savior. And because of the death of Christ, we can look to him in our failure and rest in his righteousness.