A wife said to her husband over breakfast, “I had a dream last night that you gave me a pearl necklace. What do you suppose that means?” “You’ll find out tonight,” the husband said. And sure enough, that evening he gave her a copy of a book entitled “Interpreting Dreams.”
All of us have dreams. We dream every night when we sleep, most of which we don’t remember the next day. In our dreams, we fulfill fantasies and desires. We live nightmares and fears. We relive the days events and how they could have been different. Dreams serve us in a variety of ways.
Dreams are one avenue in which God talks to us. Joseph is a normal, level headed and good man. Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Get the picture? Your girlfriend with whom you have never had sex is pregnant! She tells you that it is God’s child. You don’t believe her and you know who everyone else in town thinks this child belongs to. Because Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
That is some dream! It would make a man change his whole course of action. The dream is a domain of experience, having an intellectual, ethical, and spiritual significance. (Living in an earthly body, we have, as the confusing background of our being, a dim region, out of which our thinking labors forth to the daylight, and in which much goes forward, especially in the condition of sleep, of which we can only come to a knowledge by looking back afterward.) In dreams, one’s true nature manifests itself breaking through the pressure of external relations and the stimulation of the waking life.
The Scriptures appear to hold the person responsible, if not for dreaming, at least for the character of the dream. When they came to Balaam, they told him what Balak had said. “Spend the night here,” Balaam said to them, “and I will bring you back the answer the LORD gives me.” So the Moabite princes stayed with him. God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?” Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent me this message: `A people that has come out of Egypt covers the face of the land. Now come and put a curse on them for me. Perhaps then I will be able to fight them and drive them away.'” But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.” The next morning Balaam got up and said to Balak’s princes, “Go back to your own country, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you.” That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.” Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road. Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat her again. Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.” The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said. Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her.” Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.” The angel of the LORD said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.”
Because the dream was looked upon as a communication from God there arose those who professed the ability to interpret them (see Magic). They were not to be listened to if they taught anything contrary to the law. Instances are given of God’s aiding men to understand dreams and the divine lessons taught thereby, e.g., Joseph and Daniel.
“A significant aspect of dreams is the spiritual: they may become the means of a direct and special intercourse of God with man. God warned the wife of Pilate against being concerned in the death of the Just One.”
Dreams come with maturity of faith. Charlie Brown is at bat. STRIKE THREE. He has struck out again and slumps over to the bench. “Rats! I’ll never be a big-league player. I just don’t have it! All my life I’ve dreamed of playing in the big leagues, but I know I’ll never make it.” Lucy turns to console him. “Charlie Brown, you’re thinking too far ahead. What you need to do is set yourself more immediate goals.” He looks up. “Immediate goals?” Lucy says, “Yes. Start with this next inning when you go out to pitch. See if you can walk out to the mound without falling down!’
Joel says, `In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.’