TO CHEW ON: “But while he thought about these things, behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.’” Matthew 1:20
A friend of mine moved from Iran some years ago. Her reason for wanting to leave was because of persecution as a Christian. The night before her immigration hearing she had a dream. In the dream it was impressed on her to study a certain passage of scripture. She awoke and, instead of going back to sleep, memorized the scripture from her dream. The next day at her hearing, the officer quizzed her on exactly the passage she had studied.
Joseph, in our reading, altered his plans as the result of a dream. As he mulled over his terrible predicament and what to do, he dreamed that an angel spoke to him, telling him to abandon fear and marry Mary despite her pregnant condition. So he did (Matthew 1:20,24).
Does God still speak to people in dreams?
If stories from people in countries which are closed to the gospel are to be believed, He certainly does—often. In fact, He uses this mode of communication all over the world—even here, where we’re free to read and hear the gospel (for examples, read the book Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters).
How do we sort out whether a dream we have is a message from God or not? Some points to keep in mind:
1. God cares about our situation and our dilemmas. Like He saw Joseph’s predicament and knew he needed direction (Luke 1:19,20), He knows our circumstances and what we need. We have no reason to be surprised when He communicates with us..
2. God’s message to us can come in many ways: through reading or hearing the Bible, through another person, through the lyrics of a song, an angel, a vision, a dream…
3. However, the Bible is finished. It is complete in the Word—the message of Jesus (Hebrews 1:1,2, John 1:1,14). A dream does not have equal authority with the Bible. Rather, we should compare the message of our dream with the message of the Bible. Of course this implies some familiarity with scripture and assumes we will recognize the “voice of the shepherd” - John 10:3,4. The more intimate we are with God, the greater the likelihood we’ll recognize His voice in instruction and reassurance to “fear not.”
4. We can ask God for wisdom for life (James 1:5) and for help in understanding what we believe are spiritual dreams (Daniel 8:15-17).
May we be so attuned to His voice that we obey Him, however He speaks to us, without hesitation or questions, like Joseph did.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to hear and recognize Your voice in whatever way You choose to speak. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.