WHY DOES GOD USE DREAMS? — HOW TO INTERPRET THE SYMBOLS
Job 33:14-18 tells us some amazing truths about why God speaks to us in dreams. In verse 14 He says: “For God may speak in one way, or in another, yet man does not perceive it.” That’s just so true. How many times has the Lord tried to tell us what direction to go or give us an answer to prayer and we just are too busy or too distracted to really listen? But God is very clever.
So He’ll visit us when we’re napping or sleeping, when our bodies are trying to slow down and rest, and we’re in a more subconscious state. The Lord communicates with us, like it says in verse 15-16: “In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds. Then He open the ears of men, and seals their instruction.”
Why? “In order to turn man from his deed and conceal pride from man. He keeps back his soul from the pit and his life from perishing by the sword” (vv. 17-18). Everything the Lord does for us is to give us a wonderful life. So what this section of scripture is telling us is that He will try to get to us in any way He can, and since He already knows we sometimes don’t listen so well when we’re awake, He communicates with us while our body and soul take a rest.
In studying what the Bible says about dreams and visions, I’ve seen that God either talks very directly, or He communicates with symbols. Proverbs 25:2 tells us: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” We are those kings, as John tells us in Revelation 1:5-6: “Jesus Christ has made us kings and priests unto God.”
Both the clear dreams and the symbolic dreams are very intimate from God’s point of view, but the dreams with symbols require us to do some searching. Because we have to search for what the symbols mean, the journey necessarily requires a more intimate relationship with the Lord.
There are lots of books on interpreting dreams, but I never quite knew which ones were “right,” so I pretty much avoided them. Two books would interpret the same symbol in two different ways. Then I heard a Bible teaching on dreams that made sense as far as sources for symbol interpretation. They are:
- Think about what the symbol means to you personally
- Look up the meanings of the items in your dream in the Bible itself
- Look up their meanings a Dictionary
- Get the help of the Holy Spirit. “The helper, the HolySpirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things” (John 14:26).
One important thing, before we go looking up dream meanings, is to actually get some clear details on the dream. “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” In this case, that would be us! The dreams I remember are usually the ones I have right before I wake up in the morning. The other morning, I tried to remember my dream and it was amazing how much more became clear as I began to write the dream down.
So even as you write down the dream, the Holy Spirit will teach you some things about what the dream means. And remember that it is YOUR dream, so some items in the dream will be specific to you. For instance, “a cream-yellow car” for me would indicate the dream has something to do with my grandparents. If you had a cream-yellow car in your dream, you would not be thinking of my grandparents.
So, you start to look at the dream and if you aren’t exactly sure what God is trying to tell you, start with one of the main items in the dream. My dream the other night had two kinds of chairs in it. I examined the two chairs and asked myself, “What’s the difference between these two chairs?” In other words, what do the chairs mean to me personally? When I answered that, the next thing I did was look up “chair” online at https://www.blueletterbible.org and found the Hebrew (OT) and Greek (NT) words and definitions for chair.
It’s so awesome to look up the definitions of words used in the Bible. When you read the definition that is right for your dream, the Holy Spirit resonates with your heart and you know it’s the one that makes sense. Then you can look up chair in the Dictionary and the Holy Spirit will do the same with the definitions there.
I know this sounds fairly simple and it is. God doesn’t want it to be complicated. He wants you to get the message and He knows if you really want to receive it, you will do what it takes to find it out.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter” (Prov. 25:2). The word “glory” means “abundance, riches, honor and splendor”. God wants us to have this glory and when we discover the meaning of some of those dream messages from the Lord, that’s exactly what happens.
Because I was an admitted dream skeptic, I wanted to be convinced that dreams were from God. I wanted to know they contained important messages from the Lord, not just a re-hash of my everyday circumstances. So I looked up multitudes of scriptures and records in the Bible on dreams and visions. In my next article, I will be sharing some of them with you. You’re going to be just as amazed as I was!
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