When God separated the Children of Israel from the rest of the world, he began mentoring them to think differently. God broke the Hebrews out of the cyclical, mystical thinking of the pagan world with the revelation and understanding of linear time and progress. If things in this world are advancing rather than cyclical, then people can plan, work, save and experience a better future. The Hebrews could now plan for the future with their family. It seems so simple to us now because it is assumed in the modern world, but planning for the future was not common in the ancient world and the primitive cyclical pattern of thought was quite crippling.
For an example of how God taught the Hebrews, we find this thinking early on in Joseph’s life. He had a dream of his brothers bowing down to worship him and he had a sense that this was in the future, partially because it didn’t seem likely in the present because his brothers despised him. Later, Joseph interpreted pharaoh’s dream correctly and knew from it that seven years of plenty would be followed by seven years of draught. To prepare for the seven years of draught, Joseph took the practical step of leading the Egyptians to store large quantities of food during the years of abundance. We read that Joseph had to store the food in the fields because there were no barns to store food. That is because up to this time people were fatalistic and just accepted that draughts came and when they did people would starve.
Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure. Genesis 41:48-49
Joseph’s wise actions saved the lives of many Egyptians and elevated him to a place of authority in the Egyptian world where he would see his earlier dream concerning his brothers fulfilled. It also provided physical sustenance for the Hebrews during the draught. Because the Egyptians had stored up food when no one else did, they accumulated great wealth, which was later leveraged when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt.
The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egypt. Exodus 12:35-36
God planned ahead so the Hebrews would have silver, gold and clothing when they left Egypt. They saw God planning for the future and realized he expected them to do the same. Thinking long term and planning ahead is crucial for the Christian to experience prosperity today.