When God chose and separated the Hebrews from the rest of the existing world, He mentored them to think in different ways than the pagan peoples around them. One way this became real to the Hebrews was God’s action of establishing them in their own land with each tribe and family given a portion. God did this to mold their thinking…they were forced to think about what they would pass on to the next generations. He taught them…and they saw that it was important to leave an inheritance to the next generation. This became such a part of the Hebrew worldview that it was expected of every person living righteously.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. Prov. 13:22a
If there was to be an inheritance passed on, the Hebrews had to become aware of savings and frugality. Both of these concepts were foreign to the pagans that were the Hebrews peers at this time. The pagans survived hand to mouth because their thinking was only about themselves and their survival. There was no long range planning for the future since they saw everything as determined by fate. Frugality and savings were foolish to the pagan mind. Since they saw no reason to accumulate anything for the next generation, using what they presently have to gain more (what we call capitalism) did not make sense to them. But the Hebrews were taught voluntary saving and frugality.
Go to the ant, you sluggard…it has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8
Savings and frugality are the bedrock for developing wealth, and the concept of net worth which is how the modern world measures wealth. Next week we will build on these concepts by discussing delayed gratification.