God has been communicating His will and word through dreams since the Creation.
In Genesis, He sealed His covenant with Abram after he had fallen into a deep sleep (Gen. 15:12-21). Jacob the patriarch marveled at the ladder from heaven to Earth, where angels ascended and descended, and he called the place Bethel, the “house of God” (Gen. 28:10-19). Daniel had “understanding in all kinds of visions and dreams,” (Dan. 1:17). His gift from God promoted him above all the other as he was “made ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon” (Dan. 2:48).
Dreams were pivotal in the birth Jesus. It was through a dream that Joseph learned Mary had conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit, and he obeyed a series of dreams which spared their lives (Matt. 1:20, 2:13, 19, 22).
On the Day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter quoted Joel 2:28-32 saying that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was a fulfillment of that prophecy. Tongues, prophecy, dreams and visions are the outpouring of the wonderful Holy Spirit who is the promise from the Father to His children (Luke 24:49).
God still speaks in dreams today. When I was in India on a short-term mission exposure trip, I met a young woman who had been a Muslim. During a Ramadan fast, Jesus appeared to her in a dream and she became a Christian. She had to run away from home as her father persecuted her for her newfound faith and she fearlessly began to preach the gospel.
What are you to do with your dreams from God? Here are four keys I have learned that have helped me in my life as I grow in Him:
1. Search the Scriptures. If there is a theme or topic gleaned from your dream, then study this topic or theme in the Bible. Or if there were metaphors and symbols in your dream, look these up in the Bible, using a concordance and Bible dictionary as needed. Once I dreamed of armies in perfect formation and soldiers within the army were blowing trumpets, so I searched every passage of Scripture related to trumpets and learned a lot as my understanding of the Scripture increased. We are to rely on Scripture as this is central to the interpretation and application of our dreams.
2. Seek God’s face when you receive a dream that has a profound impact on you.
A deepand lasting impression is on you, not only when you wake, but as you go throughout your day and week. It is with these dreams that you are to seek God in prayer. Present it to Him and seek for His loving answers. When I was 18 I had a profound dream where I was standing in the middle of a paved road. In one direction, I saw the road got worse with potholes, and the further I looked the sky was darker. Then, in the other direction, the road got better, the trees were lush and green, and the skies were beautiful. This was God guiding me to choose His way or the world’s way. It impacted me so much that I made life-changing decisions to surrender to Him completely.
3. Record your dream. Write it out. If you are artistic feel free to draw it, paint it or design it on the computer. Whatever it takes for you to record the dream, do this prayerfully. Jeremiah 23:28 says, “The prophet who has a dream, let him tell his dream. And he who has My word, let him speak.” One of the purposes of God-given dreams is to make Him known. Our recording the dream may help someone out later on and we should return to it from time to time to review and pray through it.
If you have completed these previous steps, then:
4. Obey what God says in your dream. The dream has to confirm and affirm the Word of God. As we abide in His grace and love under the new covenant of Jesus, obedience is key to His guidance and continue to pursue the presence of the Lord. If we are to share the dream, then we humbly submit it to our leaders. If we are to keep it to ourselves then we are to intercede into it. God will give the interpretation because as we approach Him with it He will answer, as the Scripture says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter,” (Prov. 25:2). Searching for the meaning of the dream and obeying Him is all part of your adventure with God.