Understanding Dreams and Visions (Part 3)

We will conclude with our final message in the Dreams and Visions series. I hope that you have had some powerful encounters with the Lord in your dreams. My desire is for this to be a launching point for us moving forward. God wants to and will continue to speak to us through dreams and visions if we will take them seriously and steward them well. Today we are going to look at how God can give wisdom through our dreams.

James 1:5-6: If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.

This Word says that if we need wisdom that we can ask God and that He will give it to us. He gives it to us freely and He will never rebuke us for asking. But we must go to Him with confidence that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do.

We are going to take a look at a few people in the Bible who encountered God in a dream and to whom God gave wisdom to succeed in the things that He called them to do.

I. God rewards Solomon for his extravagant offering

1 Kings 3:3-9: Solomon loved the Lord and followed all the decrees of his father, David, except that Solomon, too, offered sacrifices and burned incense at the local places of worship. The most important of these places of worship was at Gibeon, so the king went there and sacrificed 1,000 burnt offerings. That night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” Solomon replied, “You showed great and faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued to show this great and faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne. “Now, O Lord my God, you have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted! Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”

The first thing that we notice from this text is that Solomon loved the Lord and followed all His decrees. He loved Him so much that He offered 1,000 bulls as a burnt offering to the Lord. This was an extravagant offering. He was only required to offer one. The Lord appeared to Solomon that night in a dream and told him that He would grant Solomon whatever He asked for.

The second thing we notice is that Solomon learned well from his father King David. David led the Kingdom as God directed Him and had great success because of the Lord. Solomon knew that He would need the Lord’s help as well. Solomon asked for an understanding heart and wisdom to govern his people.

1 Kings 3:10-15: The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or the death of your enemies—I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for—riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! And if you follow me and obey my decrees and my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life.” Then Solomon woke up and realized it had been a dream. He returned to Jerusalem and stood before the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant, where he sacrificed burnt offerings and peace offerings. Then he invited all his officials to a great banquet.

God was so pleased with Solomon’s request that He made him the wisest person to ever live as well as granting him riches and fame. Solomon woke up and realized that it had been a dream. He returned to Jerusalem and gave an offering to the Lord. The most significant thing that the Lord ever did in Solomon’s life happened in a dream while Solomon slept.

II. God shows Jacob how to increase his wealth

Jacob leaves his family to run from his angry brother Esau because he feared for his life. He went to stay with his Uncle Laban. He worked for Laban and came up with wages that would work. Jacob fell in love with Rachel and said that He would for Laban for seven years in order to marry her. Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah instead and committed another seven years for Rachel. After fourteen years of working, He wanted to start making money to provide for his family. They came up with this agreement:

Genesis 30:31-32: Jacob replied, “Don’t give me anything. Just do this one thing, and I’ll continue to tend and watch over your flocks. Let me inspect your flocks today and remove all the sheep and goats that are speckled or spotted, along with all the black sheep. Give these to me as my wages.

Laban cheated Jacob and removed all of these animals and moved them to a distant location three days’ travel away. Look what Jacob does later in this text:

Genesis 30:37-43: Then Jacob took some fresh branches from poplar, almond, and plane trees and peeled off strips of bark, making white streaks on them. Then he placed these peeled branches in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink, for that was where they mated. And when they mated in front of the white-streaked branches, they gave birth to young that were streaked, speckled, and spotted. Jacob separated those lambs from Laban’s flock. And at mating time he turned the flock to face Laban’s animals that were streaked or black. This is how he built his own flock instead of increasing Laban’s. Whenever the stronger females were ready to mate, Jacob would place the peeled branches in the watering troughs in front of them. Then they would mate in front of the branches. But he didn’t do this with the weaker ones, so the weaker lambs belonged to Laban, and the stronger ones were Jacob’s. As a result, Jacob became very wealthy, with large flocks of sheep and goats, female and male servants, and many camels and donkeys.

Why would Jacob do this with the animals? The next text will explain that to us.

Genesis 31:4-13: So Jacob called Rachel and Leah out to the field where he was watching his flock. He said to them, “I have noticed that your father’s attitude toward me has changed. But the God of my father has been with me. You know how hard I have worked for your father, but he has cheated me, changing my wages ten times. But God has not allowed him to do me any harm. For if he said, ‘The speckled animals will be your wages,’ the whole flock began to produce speckled young. And when he changed his mind and said, ‘The striped animals will be your wages,’ then the whole flock produced striped young. In this way, God has taken your father’s animals and given them to me. “One time during the mating season, I had a dream and saw that the male goats mating with the females were streaked, speckled, and spotted. Then in my dream, the angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ And I replied, ‘Yes, here I am.’ “The angel said, ‘Look up, and you will see that only the streaked, speckled, and spotted males are mating with the females of your flock. For I have seen how Laban has treated you. I am the God who appeared to you at Bethel, the place where you anointed the pillar of stone and made your vow to me. Now get ready and leave this country and return to the land of your birth.’ ”

The Lord took notice of how Laban was cheating. No matter what Laban did, God would continue to bless Jacob. Now we know why Jacob did these things while the animals mated. He learned this from a dream.

God showed Jacob how to increase his wealth through a dream!

III. God makes a covenant with Abram

Abram was promised great wealth if he left his home and followed God to the Promised Land. Abram questioned the idea of God giving him great wealth because he had no children to whom he could pass on such wealth.

Genesis 15:12-21: As the sun was going down, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a terrifying darkness came down over him. Then the Lord said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth. (As for you, you will die in peace and be buried at a ripe old age.) After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.” After the sun went down and darkness fell, Abram saw a smoking firepot and a flaming torch pass between the halves of the carcasses. So the Lord made a covenant with Abram that day and said, “I have given this land to your descendants, all the way from the border of Egypt to the great Euphrates River—the land now occupied by the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites.”

Abram falls into a deep sleep and it says a terrifying darkness comes over him. This sounds more like a nightmare. He saw a glimpse of his descendants being oppressed as slaves that would last for 400 years. But all that would end, those nations would be punished and they would come away with great wealth.

Abram wakes up and saw a smoking fire boat and a flaming torch pass through the halves of three carcasses. It was the Lord making a covenant with Abram that he would give this land to his descendants.

God showed Abram the future while He was sleeping and made a covenant with Him.

Let me share a couple of stories that might encourage you. We know that God spoke to people through dreams in the Bible, but He will speak to people just like you and me.

First, Jack Nicklaus figured out through a dream why his swing was off. In the dream, he was playing a masterful game of golf. After analyzing the dream, the six-time Masters champion realized he was gripping the club differently in the dream than he does in waking life: “I tried it the way I did in my dream, and it worked. I feel kind of foolish admitting it, but it really happened in a dream.”

Secondly, Dr. Ben Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon and 2016 presidential candidate, tells the story about struggling to understand a required college chemistry course. He asked the Lord to help him. The night before a major test, he “picked up his chemistry textbook, determined to learn the whole course overnight.” He fell asleep. While he slept, God gave him a prophetic dream: “I was in this large auditorium.... Just me, and a nebulous figure working out chemistry problems.... When I went to take the test the next morning, it was like The Twilight Zone.... I opened that [test] book and I recognized the first problem.” They were the exact problems he had completed in his dream. He finished the test, knowing the answers because God revealed them to him in a dream.

Ask God to give you wisdom in whatever area in your life that you need wisdom. God will be faithful to give you wisdom to do what He has called you to do. He may even speak to you though your dreams!