In our readings from yesterday and today we find out that Joseph is a dreamer. He has big dreams that mean big things. When he shares the dreams with others he opens himself up for praise or ridicule.
We know and believe that the dreams were from God and they served a purpose in Joseph’s life and the life of a nation (Egypt). They served God’s purpose by moving Joseph to Egypt, by causing Egypt to survive the famine and to reunite the family of Israel.
There are many dreams and dreamers in the Bible. Is God in their dreams and ours? How can one ensure fewer nightmares? How does one know if a dream is from God or not? Great questions!
Dreams in the Bible
Earlier we read about others that had dreams:
- Abimelech concerning Sarah – Genesis 20
- Jacob’s Ladder – Genesis 28
- Jacob and the breeding of livestock – Genesis 31
- Laban – Genesis 31
- Joseph has dreams – Genesis 37 and beyond
- The dreams of the butler and baker – Genesis 40
- dream also invades the troubled sleep of the mighty Pharaoh – Genesis 41
Later throughout our reading there are more dreams to come:
- The Midianite and Gideon – Judges 7
- Eliphaz has a nightmare – Job 4
- Solomon had dreams – 1 Kings 3
- Daniel has many dreams – Book of Daniel
- The Kings during Daniel’s day had dreams – Book of Daniel
- Joseph has a dream about Mary – Matthew 1
- Joseph has a dream to escape to Egypt and later return from Egypt with Mary and Jesus – Matthew 2
- The Magi have a dream to tell them to go home a safer route – Matthew 2
- Pilate’s wife has a dream – Matthew 27
- Cornelius vision, concerning Peter – Acts 10
- Peter’s vision of the ceremonially unclean creatures – Acts 10
- Paul’s vision of the man in Macedonia – Acts 16
Job 33:14 – 18 NLT
14 For God does speak—now one way, now another—
though no one perceives it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on people
as they slumber in their beds,
16 he may speak in their ears
and terrify them with warnings,
17 to turn them from wrongdoing
and keep them from pride,
18 to preserve them from the pit,
their lives from perishing by the sword
Therefore, it is obvious that God uses dreams to speak to people. I can’t explain it much better than that. It is a mystery fraught with danger if missed understood or misused.
GIGO is one of the first concept I learned in computer programming in 1979. It means – Garbage In – Garbage Out. The point the professor was trying to make is that if you program poorly, or have poor data, you will get poor results.
I know from personal experience, and I assume you concur, that if you watch a scary movie right before bed you may have a nightmare. I also know that if I have a heavy conversation or meeting late in the evening, its topic will penetrate my dreams that night.
Ecclesiastes 5:3a NLT
3 A dream comes when there are many cares,
Imagine if you fill your day with garbage – images, sounds, thoughts, philosophies, nonsense that if that garbage is in your head and life, then it will come out. One of the ways it will come out is in your thought life – Garbage out.
However, could you image what better dreams you could have if you fill your day on things that honor and glorify God. Imagine if you were to finish each day with a Psalm or two?
Philippians 4:8 NIV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
Ultimately, I believe we have to take whatever dream we have and compare it to our reading of God’s word. Compare the dream to what you understand about God’s character and teachings in the Bible. One way to know God’s character and teachings is through regular Bible reading – just like you are doing this year!
Posting is supposed to be short and sweet. There is a whole other post/article/book that could be written about being careful about false teachings through dreams. Here are a few verses if you are interested for now… Deuteronomy 13:1-5, Jeremiah 23:25-32, Jeremiah 27:9, Jeremiah 29:8, Zechariah 10:2