I was asked the same question a number of times in our "texting Q and A" this past weekend following the message on Saturday night. This was related to the reading of Chapter 3 of The Story concerning Joseph's dreams.
Do you think God still communicates through dreams today?
Let me first say this. Sleep specialists tell us that we dream as many as 1200 dreams a night, though we remember very few. I don't believe all dreams are of God, necessarily. It could be the hot sauce. It could be the fruit of what I spent much of my day meditating on. I'm don't remember too many of my dreams, myself.
Having said all that, I do believe God can and does communicate through dreams on occasion today. This, though, opens a whole new set of questions regarding how one knows God is the source, not to mention how one interprets the meaning of such a dream, etc...
Throughout Scripture, there appears to be three moves to make when it comes to God communicating with people, and not just in dreams, but in many different ways including the written word. What is the content? What does it mean? How should I live in light of it?
Or, to put it another way - there's the revelation, interpretation, and then the application. Consider the ministries of Joseph or Daniel as an illustration of this and how it unfolds. It's also interesting to look at the role dreams played in the gospels and in the early church in the book of Acts.
There's a lot of reflection and equipping that needs to be done in this particular area. It can be very messy. Let me leave you with four brief and important thoughts about dreams since they are a hot topic.
First, if you think a particular dream is significant, it's important to evaluate its content, your interpretation, and its application in light of the Word of God. How does it line up with what Scripture has to reveal about the nature, character, or will of God? What does it have to do with Jesus? Jesus and Scripture should have more authority than our dreams.
Second, never make a decision or take an action based on a dream alone. I elaborate why more in my third point below. (By the way, of the few significant dreams I've had in my life, they didn't call me to any particular action but rather challenged/exposed my attitude and perspective on an issue in my life, which then informed how I prayed about that issue.)
Third, process the dream with other followers of Christ who are rooted in the Word and know you well enough to help you know whether or not you are talking yourself into something or out of something. Our hearts can be deceitful at times and we can have a tendency to quickly look for a divine endorsement of something we selfishly want.
Fourth, to the extent that God does speak to someone through dreams - it's a reflection of His goodness and not the particular person's goodness. There's no reason to take pride in such an experience. It doesn't necessarily mean one is spiritually superior to others. It just means that God is gracious to move in such a way upon someone and it should be received with thanksgiving and humility.
It could be the reason God resorts to dreams on occasion is because it's the only time we're still enough to listen. And if that's true, then it's another testimony to God's relentless pursuit of us and humility in continuing to reach out to us.
I look forward to unpacking Chapter 4 this weekend! We'll do more Q and A this Saturday night!
Grace and Peace,
Posted on Tue, February 12, 2013
by Chris Seidman