Psalm 17:15 is one of my new favorites: “I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.” The word “likeness” in this verse means “what He’s formed, what He’s fashioned for us.” God’s will is to bless us always, even when we are sleeping. The first place in the Bible where God fashioned something while a man was sleeping is found in the very first book of the Bible, where “the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man” (Gen. 2:21-22).
The man was alone. He needed a companion and of all the animals God had already created, none was quite right. So God put a deep sleep on the man and in that time, a part of that man was used by God to create the perfect companion. The Lord doesn’t need to take a rib from us, but He does need something from us. He needs what’s behind the rib, our hearts.
Then in Genesis 15 God makes a promise to Abram about his future and what He would do for him. God tells Abram that even though he was old, he would have a son with his wife Sarah. “And He [God] brought him forth outdoors and said, ‘Look now toward heaven and count the stars, if thou be able to number them.’ And He said unto him, ‘So shall thy seed be’” (Gen. 15:5). God promised him land as well.
Then Abram asked God how would he know it and God told Abram to make preparations for a covenant relationship between himself and God. So Abram got it all ready and “when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and lo, a horror [fear] of great darkness [misery] fell upon him” (v.12). God told Abram that his heirs would be suffering slavery for a while, but “afterward they shall come out with great substance” (v. 14). And God also showed Abram that he would die peacefully and “be buried at a good old age” (v. 15).
In this example, we see that Abram prepared himself to be connected with God in a covenant relationship. This was no small thing. Abram was saying to God that he was willing to accept what God would do. Even if bad things happened along the way, Abram trusted that the Lord would bring a great outcome in the end. As it turned out, one of Abram’s heirs was the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Genesis 40, Joseph is in prison and two of Pharaoh’s workers were thrown in prison as well. The two had dreams but they had no interpreter in prison, or so they thought, so they were sad. Then Joseph asked, “Isn’t Elohim [God as creator] the only one who can tell what they mean?” (v. 8). And it was because Joseph was able to interpret their dreams according to what God intended, that later he got out of prison, interpreted a dream of Pharaoh’s and became the second in command of all of Egypt.
Conclusion: Dreams matter and learning to interpret them according to Godly wisdom is a great Biblical tool we could stand to learn. I was not very interested in dreams until just lately when I heard a teaching on it. But now that I’ve been studying it in the Bible, I don’t want to be caught short on anything God has made available to us in His wonderful Word. So the learning continues.
In the Old Testament times, people were used to talking about dreams and visions, and interpretation seemed to be a common practice for believers as well as unbelievers. There are many examples, including those of Gideon, Samuel, Nathan, Zechariah, Hezekiah, Isaiah, Job and so many others.
But let’s go to the New Testament times. Peter had a life-changing vision, which affected him as well as those of us who were born, not of Jewish blood, but of Gentile nations. The thing about dreams and visions is that God gets us when we are not in a fully rational state of mind. He gets us when we are in a more open state and more receptive to new ideas. Even if we don’t understand them at first, they get in and then we have to deal with them.
This is what happens to us sometimes at night when the Lord puts someone in our dreams who we don’t like or someone from the past who we don’t want anything to do with. We ask ourselves, “Why is this awful person getting into my dreams?” Usually it’s because God wants us to pray for them. OHHHH NOOOOO! Yep, if they were awful to you, they were probably awful to others as well and who else is going to pray for them? God trusts that you will! Be happy if the Lord only requires you to pray for them. This is similar to what happened to Peter in Acts 10, only Peter didn’t just have to pray for them, he had to go see them. The result was earth-shaking!
“About noon, when Peter was going up to the roof to pray, he was hungry and wanted to eat. But while they were preparing the food for Peter to eat, he had a vision. He saw something coming down through the open sky. It looked like a big sheet being lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all kinds of animals, reptiles, and birds. Then a voice said to him, ‘Get up, Peter; kill anything here and eat it.’ But Peter said, ‘I can’t do that, Lord! I have never eaten anything that is not pure or fit to be used for food’” (vv. 9-14).
Remember, Peter was a Jew and he followed very strict dietary rules.
“But the voice said to him again, ‘God has made these things pure. Don’t say they are unfit to eat’” (v. 15).
Peter was so bewildered, God had to show him the same vision three times and “then the whole thing was taken back up into heaven [and] Peter wondered what this vision meant” (vv.16-17).
“While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Listen, three men are looking for you. Get up and go downstairs. Go with these men without wondering if it’s all right, because I sent them’” (vv.19-20).
So Peter went with the men and they brought him to a Gentile’s house, Cornelius’ house. Then Peter began to understand the vision. As he stood before all Cornelius’ household, “he said unto them, ‘Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean’” (v. 28). And Peter taught them.
“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, ‘Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth [respects] him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him” (vv. 34-35).
I also like the way the ERV puts it:
“Peter began to speak: ‘I really understand now that God does not consider some people to be better than others. He accepts anyone who worships him and does what is right. It is not important what nation they come from. God has spoken to the people of Israel. He sent them the Good News that peace has come through Jesus Christ, the Lord of all people’” (vv. 34-38).
It is because of Peter accepting the vision from God and acting on it, that today there are millions in the body of Christ who were of Gentile backgrounds.
If you are skeptical about dreams and visions, take a look in a concordance at the references. In the King James Version, “dream” is used 87 times and “vision” 96 times. Let the Lord show you through His Word.
Everything God does is for our benefit and speaking to us in a dream or vision, when the big “me” doesn’t get in the way, is just one of them.
I got inspired along these lines by Katie Souza. I don’t follow all her teachings but when I listen, I let the Holy Spirit show me what’s good for me to look at. I’m sure you do the same thing with the Bible teachers you hear also.
How about putting some of my books and booklets on your Christmas list? They are inexpensive and valuable gifts for yourself or someone you love.