Dreams: Gods Neglected
Means of Communication
by Tom Brown
God loves to communicate to His people. He uses various means
including dreams. As Elihu said:
For God does speaknow one way, now
anotherthough man may not perceive it. In a dream,
in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men as
they slumber in their beds, (Job 33:14-15)
What I find interesting about this statement is that when God
speaks in dreams man may not perceive it. We often treat
dreams as junk mail. We quickly dismiss our dreams as
unimportant, when in fact, God may have sent us a message.
God sends messages to us in dreams in order to protect us from
impending disaster, change a lifestyle we've been living, or
perhaps guide us in a direction to take.
Examples of Dreams in Action
God warned Pharaoh through a dream about an impending famine
in the land of Egypt. Because of the dream, countless lives were
saved. (see Genesis 41)
I read a story about a woman who had a dream in which her
pastor gave her a Scripture. After she awakened, she looked up
the verse and it was about bearing children. She discounted it
since she was told by her doctor that she could not have anymore
Later that day, her daughter was diagnosed of having parasites
in her digestive tract. The doctor gave a prescription for the
entire family to protect them from this contagious disease. Just
as the mother was about to take it, she read the warning label:
NOT TO BE TAKEN IF PREGNANT.
The woman had no reason to suspect pregnancy, but based on the
dream she abstained from taking the medicine. Remarkably, she
tested positive, and later had her baby. Wow! Through a dream a
baby was saved.
God is also concerned about our lifestyle. Abimelech was
admonished in a dream about committing adultery with
Abrahams wife, Sarah.
But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and
said to him, "You are as good as dead because of the
woman you have taken; she is a married woman."
Through this dream, Abimelech repented.
God will also guide you through dreams. He did it for Joseph
no less than five times (Matthew 2) and for Pilates wife
Sometimes God gives you a dream to simply encourage you. For
example, when Gideon needed reassurance to fight the Midianites
he was inspired through a dream and its interpretation.
Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend
his dream. "I had a dream," he was saying.
"A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the
Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that
the tent overturned and collapsed." His friend
responded, "This can be nothing other than the sword
of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the
Midianites and the whole camp into his hands." When
Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he
worshipped God. He returned to the camp of Israel and
called out, "Get up! The LORD has given the
Midianite camp into your hands." Judges 7:13-15
Do Dreams Belong to the New Covenant?
There are some believers who argue against dreams by saying,
"Dreams were Gods way of speaking to His people under
the Old Covenant, but not for today. In our time God speaks to us
through the Scriptures and by the Spirit."
Thats not the view of Peter. On the day of Pentecost,
when the New Covenant was established, he preached, "'In
the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see
visions, your old men will dream dreams" (Acts 2:17). Your
old men will dream dreams. Dreams are for our age. In fact,
according to this promise, dreams would be more frequent in our
time. Dreams belong to the last days, the days we live in.
Just in case you think that dreams belong only to old men,
please remember that Peter quotes a type of Psalm called Hebrew
Parallelism. This type of Psalm is a song that repeats itself
in different words. This Psalms attempts to paint a broad brush
by including sons and daughters, young and old, visions and
dreams. It is not meant to convey that only young men have
visions and only old men have dreams. It is saying that visions
and dreams belong to everyoneyoung and old alike.
Take for example, Joseph: he had a dream from God when he was
only seventeen years old (Genesis 17:2). Daniel was a young
aspirant when God gave him a dream and the interpretation in
order to protect everyone from Nebuchadnezzars wrath
(Daniel 2:19). And how about Solomon, a young king. He had dreamt
that God gave him wisdom. He called himself "a little
child" (1 Kings 3:7) when he had the dream. Notice that
all three of these men were young when they had dreams from God.
Faith for Dreams
A Rhema graduate named Janet moved to our city and joined our
church. She told me, "Ever since Ive been in this
church, I hear people having dreams from God all the time. Is
there something in the water?"
As we laughed I told her, "The reason so many members in
our church have dreams is because they expect God to give them
dreams. Ive taught them to believe for dreams, so they use
their faith to have dreams. Have you ever been taught that God
speaks in dreams?"
She gazed for a moment and said, "You know what, Pastor!?
Ive never heard any teaching about dreams." Then she
realized why we had so many dreamswe believed God for
God works by means of faith. If you have faith that God will
do something in His Word, then He will do it. The reason many
believers dont have many dreams from the Lord is because
they dont have faith in them. Exercise your faith for
Start by asking God for dreams. You have not because you ask
Expect that you will have dreams from God.
Put your faith into action by placing a notebook and pen next
to your bed, and when you have a dream, write it down. Daniel
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon
Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed:
then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
Youll be surprised as to how often God will speak to you
in dreams. Skeptical people have told me, "Pastor, I just
dont dream." But when they promised to act in faith
for dreams, theyve come to me with excitement, "I had
a dream from God!" The same can happen to you.
Not Every Dream is from God
People often ask me, "Pastor, are all my dreams from
God?" The answer is no.
There are many causes of dreams including worry. "...a
dream comes when there are many cares..."(Eccl 5:3).
Satan can give counterfeit dreams, especially when the dreamer is
involved in occult activities. The lust of the flesh can cause X
rated dreams. Bitterness can cause dreams whereby you kill
people, or fear can cause you to have nightmares.
Obviously you must use discernment to know if a dream is from
God or not.
One of the common mistakes people make when interpreting their
dreams is to take the dream literal. Most dreams are
symboliclike Josephs dream of stars, Pharaohs
dream of cows, or Nebuchadnezzars dream of a statue.
How can you tell if a dream should be taken literally or
symbolically? If everything in the dream seems possible and real,
then it probably is a literal dream. For example, if youre
driving your car going to your job and get into an accident, then
probably you need to take it literal and pray for protection.
On the other hand, if there is a part in the dream that seems
improbable or unreal then you should interpret the entire dream
as symbolic. If, for example, youre driving another car or
going to a fictitious place then the dream is symbolic, even if
the accident seems real. The dream is speaking about spiritual
danger, not physical danger.
You need to learn to think symbolically. It takes practice.
Increase the vocabulary of symbols. As your vocabulary of symbols
increase, your ability to understand your dreams will get better
and better. The more you know the general meaning of symbols, the
easier it will be to interpret dreams, and youll be more
Let me give you a warning. Beware of using New Age type books
to interpret symbols. Ive looked at a couple of major ones,
and they are totally wrong. Ive read in these books that
when you dream of committing adultery, this means you will have a
pleasant experience, or when you dream of a minister, that
minister is symbolic of deception. These books twist the meaning
of symbols. Two books I recommend is Exploring the World of
Dreams by Benny Thomas and Understanding the Dreams You Dream by
Ira Milligan. They are two good Christian books on dreams.
Keep in mind that a symbol may mean something different to
different people. If someone lives in India and dreams of a cow
and a farmer dreams the same thing, the cow will probably mean
"religious bondage" to the Indian while a cow may mean
"livelihood" to the farmer. God understands our
personal experience, so He will use things that we can relate to.
Especially, as a Christian, look into the Scriptures for the
meaning of symbols.
Why God Uses Dreams
You may wonder why God may need to use a dream to speak to
you, when, in fact, He could have used another means to speak to
you. Im convinced that God uses dreams to speak to you
because when you are asleep your conscious mind cannot fight
Often when we are awake, our conscious minds gets in the way
of hearing from God, but when we are asleep God is able to do
things to us that we cannot contest. Its the same when an
Anesthesiologist puts someone to sleep for the surgeon. He does
so in order for the patient not to feel the pain during surgery;
because if the patient was awake he would give the surgeon
When youre asleep youre vulnerable. You lose
control of your life, and God has it. This is when God can really
speak to you.
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