And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither.
Joseph had everything given to him as a young man. He was the favored child of all his siblings, and he was given the best jobs of any of them, and this had caused great friction between him and his brothers. His brothers had to work for what they acquired, but Joseph had everything handed to him.
However, things turned for the worse for Joseph when his father asked him to go and check on the welfare of his brothers as they worked in the field. As Joseph was a great way off, his brothers saw him and made a pact with each other to have him killed. Though his life was saved because of his older brother, they still sold him into slavery with the hope that he would be killed as a slave.
One phrase is the key to Joseph becoming a great hero of faith. Genesis 39:1 says, And Joseph was brought down to Egypt… Before Joseph could rise to position, God had to bring him down so that He could rebuild him into the man that he eventually became. Joseph would have never been used mightily by God had he not been brought down. The reason God had to bring him down was because Joseph had experienced the humility that failure brings before he could be trusted with the praise of position. The bringing down of Joseph was when God could begin to work with Joseph because he had to look up to God to bring him out of his lowly estate.
Nobody has ever been used who was not brought down to the point that they had to look up to God for help. Moses had to wander in the wilderness for forty years before God used him to lead Israel out of Egypt. Peter, who was very confident in himself and his abilities, had to be brought down to nothing before he could stand on the day of Pentecost to preach and see the thousands saved. Samson had to be brought down to the dungeon before he could see the greatest victory of his life. Job had to be brought down to nothing before God could bless him twice as much. The piece of clay had to be marred in the hand of the potter before the potter could make it into a useful vessel. God often has to bring people down to realize their weakness and depravity before they can be He can use them in a great way.
To those who think they are a gift to society, you will one day find out that God has the ability to bring you to nothing. God cannot use those who think they of themselves are special to everyone else. Anyone God has used has always been humbled before God used them. You may think you have all the answers to everything, but if you don't humble yourself, God will bring you down to help you realize that you don't know anything and that He alone is the one who can lift you up.
To those that life has brought you to nothing, let me encourage you that God is capable of helping you to rise again if you do not let your prison hold you captive. To Joseph’s credit, he was a prisoner, but he never let life hold him captive. Even when he rose to great position, he never forgot the prison cell. God will give you a thorn in your flesh so that when He promotes you to great usefulness, the thorn in your flesh will be your reminder that you are nothing without God.