Joseph was born into a polygamous family of a man called Jacob, Genesis 29: 4; 30:22-24 while on sojourn in the land of Haran and running from his brother Esau. Jacob was the second twin son of Isaac and Rebekah. His twin brother is Esau. He was a shepherd. Jacob was a grandson of Abraham considered as a righteous man who God covenanted with. Jacob married two wives, had two concubines who happened to be his wives slaves; he had twelve sons and unspecified number of daughters.
Joseph was the eleventh son of his father but the first of his mother whose name was Rachael. Although His mother Rachael was the second wife of Jacob, she was the actual one Jacob was in love with and wanted to marry. However, Rachael’s father Laban tricked him to sleep with Leah, Rachael’s elder sister who he never really loved. So Leah became Jacob’s first wife (Genesis 29:15-30). Rachael experienced many years of delay in having a child; therefore Joseph was born to his father in his old age (Genesis 30:22-24). He was a good looking, well behaved and obedient child. His mother, Rachael died while giving birth to his younger brother whose was Benjamin, the last child of the family, Genesis 35:16-21.
Joseph had a gift of dreams and interpretation of dreams, Genesis 37:5-11. The two dreams he had and told his father and brothers made the brothers to call him the dreamer. His father made him a colored coat because he was his father’s favorite child being the son of his true and first love Rachel and because he was delivered to him in his old age Genesis 37:3. Although, he was the second to the last child, he eventually became the leader as he had dreamt. Joseph used to follow his elder brothers to look after their father’s herds.
This aspect about his family background is written for us to see that Joseph was in every way like us – of like passion like us, he was purely human with flesh and blood.
The morals we can learn from his family background is that although, God had full knowledge of all the happenings and imperfection of Joseph’s family before he was born, yet, He allowed him to be born there because the makeup of that family was needed for him to become who God wanted him to become and to help him reach his destination. And good enough for Joseph, He accepted his family, lived in peace, harmony, loved and interacted with them just as expected of him to do.
God knows everyone and everything about the family, tribe and nation He allowed us to be born into. Whatever the Lord does is good and for our good and to serve certain purposes in our lives. Not accepting and being unhappy about your family and not loving them as one should is the beginning of the negative mind set many youths are having. Many are displeased and angry at God because of the family He placed them and have become haters of God. Many have become rebellious, runaway, wayward, disrespectful and lonely as a result of not being able to relate and love their family members such as father, mother, siblings for who they are and for one reason or another. We did not choose who our family members are, they are God’s gift, and therefore we must appreciate them. God commanded us to honor our father and mother, Exodus 20:12.
The wrong self-worth/low self-esteem exhibited by many youths stem from the wrong mindset they have of their family as being poor, small in number or their jobs. This was King Saul’s mindset as can be seen in his statement in 1 Samuel 9:21. Bad self-image and low self-worth causes mental anguish, loneliness, depression and is capable of leading to suicide. It makes one miserable and hampers achievements and fulfillment. It makes one compare oneself with others and wishing to be like someone else. It makes one have negative attitude and view of challenges and a pessimistic outlook on life. It makes one have self-defeating habits and behaviors and a striving to become something or someone else instead of appreciating and enjoying who they are. Low self-esteem has reduced many with great potentials to mere shadows of themselves as it did to King Saul
The truth we should all know is that all families belong to God and in Him are all the families in heaven and earth named, Ephesians 3:15. The family He put us is His choice for us, to suit the purpose we are to serve on earth, therefore, it is the best for us. We are to accept, love and cherish our family, and be grateful unto God for them. It is important to know that there is no perfect family, for each family has both the good and the bad; the ugly and the beautiful ones. Don’t ever regret, dislike or hate the family God put you if you don’t want to jeopardize your life and destiny.
Another lesson we can learn from Joseph’s life is that though he was the second to the last born child and his father’s favorite child, he was an independent, hardworking and responsible child. He was alive to his responsibilities as a shepherd’s son and followed his brothers to look after their father’s sheep, Genesis 37:2. He ran errands in the family and also carried out other assignments, Genesis 37:14. All these greatly helped him in his land of slavery as well as the turnout of events for him. The reason many youths are having problems coping with life’s struggles now is because they depended so much on their parents and others while growing up since they are either an only child, only boy/girl, last child or first child.
Note also that your position in your family is not an indication of your success or position in life. Your being the last child does not make you a lesser/superior human so also does your being the first make you a super human /automatic leader. The first can become the last and the last can become the first as God who knows all men pleases to do, Ecclesiastes 9:12. Whatever your position is in your family, use it for the good and advantage of others. Position comes with responsibilities, live up to your responsibilities in your family. Be less dependent on other people, depend only on God.