What are we to make of dreams?
I’ve always been interested in dreams.
Some people remember their dreams vividly and frequently. Other people claim not to dream at all. Some dreams are so wonderful we’re sad when morning comes, but nightmares can be so terrifying they leave us shaking for days. Dreams are one of the most fascinating and mysterious aspects of our lives.
The Bible doesn’t shy away from the mention of dreams. The word occurs almost a hundred times in Scripture. In so
me stories, it specifically says God gave someone a dream. In other stories that is safe to assume. Jacob dreamed of a stairway to heaven. Joseph dreamed of future greatness (and was able to interpret other people’s dreams!) Solomon was visited by God in a dream. Daniel, like Joseph, interpreted the dreams of others and dreamed some interesting dreams himself. There are a number of dreams associated with the nativit
y story. Even unbelievers like Nebuchadnezzar and Pilate’s wife were given meaningful dreams.
It’s important to remember, though, that the Bible only mentions dreams that were noteworthy. That doesn’t necessarily mean all dreams are equally important. Some dreams might just be the result of a deep sleep (Job 4:13). Other times we might dream a lot when our life is hectic (Ecclesiastes 5:3). One could easily argue that the vast majority of dreams are just our minds’ way of recycling the vast array of stimuli that we observed with our senses in recent days.
But even if most dreams are just our brains processing information in interesting ways, no Christian can deny that dreams may be from God and meaningful. Numbers 12:6 states that God used to speak to prophets via visions and dreams. And we can’t claim that was just something God did in the Old Covenant, because Joel predicted (and Acts confirms) that dreams would usher in the New Covenant as well (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17).
If dreams can be me
aningless (just brain processing) or meaningful (a message from God), how do we tell one from the other? I would say that dreams from the Lord will be very memorable, motivating, and match-up well with Scripture. In other words, if a dream is from God, you won’t be able to easily shake it and it’ll lead you to do something for Jesus. Originally Posted 4/24/2015