Visions and Dreams #1
Romans 8:28 ESV
Psalm 145:8 (God is patient and kind)
Romans 8:28 (All things good)
Daniel 10:1-14 ESV
Daniel 10:15-17 ESV
Daniel 10:18-21 ESV
Visions and Dreams from the Lord are always intended for good.
We know that because the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28, “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Having said that, dreams and visions can be disconcerting when you first have them.
Why is that?
First, you have a sense that the dream or vision is from God. When I was younger I was uncertain about how to know when it’s from God. The key is determining how God nudges you. I was advised by an older wiser believer to trust God. I was also told it’s totally okay to ask God to give you a clue or a sign when the message is sent by God. I asked God to give me a sign every time so I would know for certain. God honored that request and to this day (nearly forty years later) when I have a dream, vision, or a message from God I feel a tug or touch on my right ear lobe after I wake up.
Second, it’s normal that when you have a dream or vision that you will not completely understand it. In my life it’s been my experience that dreams are symbolic and visions can be, the operative word CAN be symbolic. But, I’ve had visions that are a flash vision and they come true at a later date. I don’t know specifically what it means, but it’s not symbolic of something. It’s an actual vision of what is to come. Once again, the yet to come.
Third, God is always open to questions…any questions. We do not need to ever feel like any question is “off the table”. God is not like earthly parents or teachers. God never tells us to stop bothering, to get in line, or that we’ve asked too many questions that day. God is God. There are no questions that we cannot take to God. There is no limit to how many times we can ask a question, even the same question. Remember God is patient and kind (Psalm 145:8).
So AGAIN back to Romans 8:28, while the dream or vision may seem to be upsetting, ultimately God intends it for good.
That brings us to Daniel’s vision (referred to as a terrifying vision) in Daniel 10:1-14, “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a word was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. And the word was true, and it was a great conflict. And he understood the word and had understanding of the vision. In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river (that is, the Tigris) I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground. And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”
What struck me first in this section of scripture is the reference to beryl. I had not heard that word so I looked it up. Beryl is a shiny gem. The reference to the man clothed in linen meant he was glowing like lightening in the sky. The face of the man in Daniel’s vision was like lightening. His eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and legs shined with a bright hue of bronze, and when he spoke it sounded like a multitude speaking. Even though the men who were with Daniel did not see the vision they were terrified and they ran away. That’s probably good because Daniel’s appearance changed and he became weak. The radiant man told Daniel not to be afraid and he gave the message to Daniel about the latter days.
The glowing man told Daniel what he saw was yet to come.
Daniel 10:15-17 says, “When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and was mute. And behold, one in the likeness of the children of man touched my lips. Then I opened my mouth and spoke. I said to him who stood before me, “O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I retain no strength. How can my lord's servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.”
Notice Daniel was completely honest about the effect the vision had on him. I reiterate, being completely honest with yourself (and God) is not only acceptable but advisable.
In Daniel 10:18-21 the man who appeared told Daniel, “Again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.”
When Daniel was honest about how the vision made him feel the agent of God strengthened him and told him to have courage. The next words from God’s agent were a question. The agent asked, “Do you know why I have come to you?” God was directing Daniel back to the purpose at hand (Persia and Greece) AND what is written in scripture. The Angel Michael, Prince of Israel stands by God.
Michael, the prince.
We need to bear in mind dream or vision interpretation is often an enigma. When I was young and I would ask my dad to tell me what a dream or vision I’d had meant he smiled and sent me back to God. I wasn’t happy about that because I wanted it to be easy. I know now that more than likely my dad could have prayed and he could have helped me determine what the dream or vision meant. He could have made it easy. But he was wise and he knew I would have relied on him and his wisdom instead of doing the hard work through God.
Even when God has sent people in my path who knew I had a dream (before I told them I had a dream) they gave me a word of encouragement and directed me back to God. Every person God sent in my path to help me had been in my shoes when they were younger. As a result of God giving them (and me) a desire to understand the thoughts of God, they dug deep into scripture. They read it cover to cover and went back to re-read prophetic words and interpretations, especially from the prophets.
What I learned and remember today is that God’s word holds the key. The people who didn’t make dream interpretation easy for me were right. God’s word holds the key and I needed to learn to turn to scripture.
Spiritual Practice: Pray and Listen
Before reading God’s Word (scripture), ask God to direct you what to read. Listen to God even if you have to wait for the answer.
In God, Deborah