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The best way to start this off is, most undoubtedly, by checking what the Bible has to say on the subject. While it has very little to say from a teaching perspective there is TONS of examples in both the old and new testament. 

Most of it is in the old testament and they can be pretty much summed up into these categories: Warning from God, Revelation of prophecy, To encourage, To instruct.

Joseph is probably the first person that comes to mind when most people consider dreams from a biblical standpoint, followed by the prophet Daniel. I’m not going to go into them really but do consider this, God blesses everyone with their own spiritual gift (Romans 12:4 – 6a) and though they are different they are all of the same ultimate purpose, to glorify God (1 Cor. 12 4-5) and we are tasked with using those gifts for the body in service (1 Peter 4:10.)  Beyond this, God also equips us to best utilize these talents, it’s molded into our character. The best evangelist are often talkative anyway, musicians inclined since youth to play or sing. I have never known anyone called to a gift that was not able to preform their task with a skill that exceeded those around them not called to that spiritual gift. Okay, back to Joseph and Daniel. They interpreted dreams and themselves were given dreams and visions. It was part of their gift and if it was part of their gift it stands to very solid reason it was part of their nature. This applies to us today in a practical sense.

People who explore nature most often are spoken to by God and see God through nature. Just the same people who dream frequently are more likely to be spoken to and see God through their dreams. At least that’s the way it should work, in theory. Problem? Most (not all but, certainly the majority) see dream interpretation in the mainstream Christian arena as snake oil and voodoo. It creates an area of apathy in what was once a very important connection to the Spirit of God and apathy creates atrophy.

I have a sister who back in our school days would entertain us over breakfast with these wild tales about her dreams the night before. Normally they were so ridiculous that pancakes and orange juice would get spewed across the table while our ribs ached from laughing. Her spiritual gifts from the start have been evident in her love for all of Gods people regardless of circumstance or status and it didn’t take long before her dreams, which she values a lot, started ministering to those around her in a very subtle but substantial manor. I can’t even count how many times in church I’d hear her go up to a friend and start a conversation with “I had this craaaaaaaaazy dream about you…” mere seconds would pass before this person, regardless of their current mood or attitude would be laughing and smiling;  they would walk away blessed every time.

I have no doubt that if any of us had been of the opinion and told her that “dreams are just a stupid thing your brain does while you sleep” not only would she have been devastated at our crushing her joy, she would not have spread that joy on to others either. We would have been a hindrance to the way God’s spirit works through her. 

Now, whether God gives her dreams to work through her or He works through her with them because she has them is a ‘chicken first or egg?’ thing and honestly not very important. The point is they are connected. If you profess Christ as your savior and are the sort of person who dreams vividly, or frequently there is something that you need to ask. “Is this aspect of myself being utilized?” 

“What???” Yeah I can hear you. I’ll ask it again, are your dreams being utilized? Read this passage from Job, it’s the most definitive explanation the Bible gives us on dreams.

 Job 33:13-18 

13 Why do you complain to him
that he answers none of man’s words [a] ?

14 For God does speak—now one way, now another—
though man may not perceive it.

15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on men
as they slumber in their beds,

16 he may speak in their ears
and terrify them with warnings,

17 to turn man from wrongdoing
and keep him from pride,

18 to preserve his soul from the pit, [b]
his life from perishing by the sword. [c]
   

Go back up and read it again. How intense is that? Not that every time you have the naked in public dream God is trying to tell you something  (unless you have exhibitionist tendencies, then God is trying to tell you that you are a moron.) Ecclesiastes 5:7 says “Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.” Most of the time our brain is just cataloging our day but, the verse says “much” not “all,” there are times when He will, I know because I’ve experienced it and I will never forget this particular dream he gave me. Here is how it went down.

I was in college with a full school load plus a job that required I work Sunday mornings before church. It wasn’t in direct conflict with church time but, it meant really booking it from one place to another. Once a month I’d get a Sunday morning off and I was getting into the really bad habit of just sleeping through the day that morning, church and all. This had been going on awhile when some of my other spirit habits were starting to get pushed aside for school and work too, daily devotions, morning prayer time and such. I felt guilty about it but, for some reason sleep just seemed so important on that one Sunday. After a few months my work schedule changed and I had two Sundays off. To my great and mortifying shame today, I started skipping church on that Sunday too. People at church were starting to make comments about it and even my unsaved friends were confused by my behavior. This lasted for one month.

The upcoming Sunday was one I had off and I was feeling super guilty and I set my alarm to wake me up in time for church. Morning came and I was hitting that snooze button left and right. I woke up enough to realize that I had very little time before church would be over and I just shrugged and laid down just one more time. “I’ll make it for Wednesday Bible study” I told myself and laid down for one more ‘snooze’. Then I heard a voice. You know how every one recognizes Morgan Freeman’s voice, how it’s smooth, and safe sounding, all deep and reassuring? This was the opposite of that, This voice sounded like thunder and windstorms and a thousand other things. It was so deep my chest was tight and it hurt. If I had been awake and heard this voice I would have peed my pants. Thing is it wasn’t threatening me, it was just saying names. I saw a blue bird on a branch, like the things they put on old tea cups all posed and surrounded by little pink blossoms. It was attached to the wall of my room and it’s beak was moving, this terrifying voice was coming from this little bird and soon behind it I started seeing faces, a face for every name. I knew that these people were the names and faces of missionaries around the world, suffering, sacrificing and dieing for the Gospel of Christ. They were missionaries from not just the present but past and future too. I could feel tears on my face and the bird just kept singing these names in that powerful voice. After a time I heard someone whisper in my right ear “If these can die in my name, surely you can wake up.” The voice faded, the faces faded. Soon all that was there was this bird and branch on my wall and when I woke up fully, it too was gone. My face was still wet and chest still hurt though. I couldn’t remember the names enough to pronounce them and the faces were vague but, I am fully convinced that those names exist and those faces are walking around somewhere. I was shaky and jumpy for the rest of the day. 

I will never forget that dream and every time the thought of missing church tempts me on those Sunday mornings, when I’ve been asleep for two hours because Shade kept me up until the wee hours, or whatever it was, I always remember that dream and I get out of bed. I feel the worst kind of awful when I stay home sick too, though I’m sure those people I’m not infecting with my sick appreciate it.

One of the things in retrospect that just floors me every time is that God cared enough to scare me stupid. Out of all the other things I’m sure he had on his plate that morning he decided I was worth the effort to poke with a stick, to “speak in my ear and terrify with a warning.” That blows my mind. Now, this isn’t the only example I have from personal experience, I could have picked a not scary one, there’s been plenty of times where God calmed an anxiety I worried sick over during the day while I was asleep or blessed me with a realization about a situation or person but, I want you to get the deeper picture. There is no element to our reality that God is not capable of utilizing for His glory and our growth and in turn the growth of the body of Christ. 

I would encourage you to read through the lives of Joseph and Daniel and try to picture how wrong things would have gone if dreams had been disregarded. Can you picture Daniel standing before Nebuchadnezzar and telling him his dream of the multi-layered statue was the result of indigestion and stress? Or Joseph having the dreams of sheaths and stars and fearing his family’s mocking remarks keeping them to himself, then fearing the Pharaoh keeping his head down and staying forever in the prison as “Head Prisoner”?

I think not.

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3 Comments

  1. BJ–Thanks for sharing–love your writing ability and the spirit in which it is shared

  2. It's mine too.

  3. jaw dropping "wow" 🙂 This was very good…I never look into meaning behind my dreams, but thats because they really are quite ridiculous, but from now on I'm going to think about them.My favorite part of this blog is the part about Sarah. 🙂


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