Understanding Dreams and Visions (Part 2)

Last week I laid a little foundation for our dreams and visions series. We are going to build on that today. Dreams can gives us direction, they can give us warnings, or reveals what is going on in our hearts. There are many ways that God speaks to us in dreams. I want to focus more on what is happening in our hearts.

Proverbs 4:23 (NKJV): Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

As we know by now, the most important thing to understand about dream work is that dreams are symbolic. The second most important is that dream symbols are personal. Mine are mine and yours are yours.

This is why you are the best and most qualified person to interpret your dreams. You know what the symbols mean to you, and you know what is going on in your waking life better than anyone. A vital key for dream interpretation is to remember that symbols are specific to your own history and personal experiences - they are not one-size-fits-all.

I. Dreams can be a warning

King Nebuchadnezzar has a disturbing dream and demands his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers interpret the dream without him telling them what the dream is. They are not able to interpret it and Nebuchadnezzar commands that all of them be killed. Daniel and his friends get word of this and here is what they do:

Daniel 2:17-23: Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what had happened. He urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them his mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon. 19 That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. He said, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded.”

Daniel knew that God is the only one who can interpret dreams, so he asked God for help. God gives Daniel a vision of what the king dreamed and what the dream meant. Then Daniel gives praise to God for His help!

Daniel 2:27-28: Daniel replied, “There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can reveal the king’s secret. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lay on your bed.

Daniel took the opportunity to lift up His mighty God through this situation. No one is as wise as our God!

Daniel 2:29-30: “While Your Majesty was sleeping, you dreamed about coming events. He who reveals secrets has shown you what is going to happen. And it is not because I am wiser than anyone else that I know the secret of your dream, but because God wants you to understand what was in your heart.

This dream was a warning for what was going to take place in the future. His kingdom would be destroyed along with the there kingdoms that would follow. Only one kingdom would remain and that would be God’s Kingdom. The greatest Kingdom!

Notice why God gave King Nebuchadnezzar this dream:

because God wants you to understand what was in your heart
- Daniel 2:30

God gives us dreams to reveal what is in our hearts. Dreams of warning are God’s way for us to see where we are missing the mark. He allows us to repent and get back on track. Only those who are wise take His advice!

II. Dreams that give us confidence in the Lord

The Midianites ruled over the Israelites for seven years because they had disobeyed God. They took all the livestock and their crops. The Israelites called out to God and God raised up a judge by the name of Gideon. Gideon was unsure of his ability to lead the Isralites into battle against the Midianites, so he asked God to give him a sign. He laid out a wool fleece. If the fleece was wet and the ground was dry, he knew that God would be with him. He then reversed the request for the next sign and asked for the ground to be wet and the fleece to be dry.

Then God had Gideon trim an army of 22,000 troops down to just 300 men so that Israel would know that God gave them the victory over the Midianites.

Judges 7:8-11a: The Midianite camp was in the valley just below Gideon. That night the Lord said, “Get up! Go down into the Midianite camp, for I have given you victory over them! 10 But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah. Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.”

God told them to go and attack the Midianites, but they were afraid to do so.

He then encouraged them to go to the camp and to hear what the Midianites were saying about them and then they would be encouraged to go.

Judges 7:11b-16: So Gideon took Purah and went down to the edge of the enemy camp. The armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count! 13 Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!” His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!” When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before the Lord. Then he returned to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Get up! For the Lord has given you victory over the Midianite hordes!” 16 He divided the 300 men into three groups and gave each man a ram’s horn and a clay jar with a torch in it.

They go down to the camp and hear one man sharing his dream that he just had. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!” The other man knew what the dream meant.

“Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!”
Judges 7:14

That is a pretty strange dream. Why would this guy think that it was Gideon? What was Gideon doing when the angel appears to Him? He was threshing wheat! I am sure these words came to mind when Gideon heard this dream.

“The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor.
Judges 6:12

There is a powerful revelation that God wants us to understand from this story. If we have a revelation of how God sees us, it will change how we walk out His mission for our lives.

Knowing what the enemy thinks about us changes how we battle him and take the territory that God has given us!

III. Dreams point us to where God is leading us

Acts 16:6-10: Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas. That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there.

We see throughout the book of Acts how the Holy Spirit led the Apostles to where God wanted them to minister.

This passage seems to imply Paul and Silas decided to go where they felt like going instead of asking God where He wanted them to go. How do we know this? Because the Holy Spirit prevented them from going to two different places. It took a night vision for Paul to finally hear God and know where he was supposed to go.

Here is a perfect example that dreams are symbolic. We never hear that Paul actually found the man who was calling out to him in the dream. In fact Paul ended up ministering to a woman named Lydia instead. The man was not the key in the dream. The key for this dream was the man was from Macedonia . God wanted them to go to Macedonia and this dream helped them to get there.

I would like to conclude with a dream that I had this past week. I hope this encourages you to continue to ask God to speak to you through your dreams. I also hope that you will write down what you remember from your dreams, no matter how small or crazy the dream is. Only God can truly give us an interpretation of our dreams, but you are the one he will use to interpret your dreams. You know what’s going on in your life and you are the one who will know what the symbols in your dream mean to you.

There were three parts to my dream and I will share each part and break them down for you.

Part #1

Amanda and I went out to look at a field that looked like it had been planted with grass and flowers. It looked like a place where people didn’t have much luck growing anything. We were encouraged to see what we had planted was starting to grow very well. We also noticed that fields that others had planted and given up on were growing as well. Amanda actually pointed out a flower that was starting to bloom and we felt very encouraged and surprised by what we saw God was doing. I knew the field represented Sioux Falls and this verse came to mind:

John 4:34-38: Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! 37 You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

Part #2

I was trying to level a road that was uneven with potholes. I was pouring blacktop or concrete over it and smoothing it out. This verse came to me for this part:

Matthew 3:3 (The Message): John and his message were authorized by Isaiah’s prophecy: Thunder in the desert! Prepare for God’s arrival! Make the road smooth and straight!

John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus by preaching the message of repentance and baptism. I feel like this dream is telling us to prepare the way for Jesus to come and minister to our city!

Part #3

I had a dream that I was at the junior high school that I went to. This building had four different floors to it. I was walking up the stairs with a group of people who I did not know. We started on the first floor and made our way all the way up the the fourth floor. There were several other people up there sitting in this classroom. We were all sitting in chairs just waiting, but I don’t know what exactly what we were waiting for. A teacher showed up and was surprised by how many people were in the room. She said, ”Look at all these installers.”

Here is what I feel this part represents. The junior high represents learning. God is going to teach us something. I believe the group of people waiting in classroom on the fourth floor represents the 120 believers waiting in the upper room for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on they Day of Pentecost. God is going to pour out His Spirit on us so that we can learn through revelation of the Kingdom of God that He wants to install in our city!

The more I think about this dream the more that it excites me. God wants us to prepare the way for Jesus to come into our city. He is going to teach us how to build His Kingdom in Sioux Falls. We should be encouraged by the growth that has already begun because it is growing better that we thought. God is preparing us for the harvest. He has set that harvest time right now!