Summary: We want to look at the second dream of Jacob in which we see the dream as a source of insight and instruction.
Doctor Paul Tournier, the great Christian psychiatrist, tells of the child
who once remarked to his mother, "Dreams are God's movies, arn't they?"
Doctor Tournier believes they are often just that. The early Christians
believed dreams were a tool God used to give guidance, but this conviction
faded during the middle ages. Then the modern secular world of psychiatry
reopened the whole world of the unconscious. This influenced Christians to
study the subject of dreams again.
Kathryn Lindskoog, in her book The Gift of Dreams, has done a marvelous
job of studying the history of dreams in the Christians church. Most of us are
not aware that we live in an age of a dream craze. It is just not a realm of life
that we explore. I am amazed at what I learned in just a few weeks by getting
exposed to the world of dream fascination. Listen to what is going on.
"Dozens of dream laboratories speckle the country. Dream study has
exploded. Dream discussion groups meet regularly. Dream books clutter the
shelves. Dream articles pop up in magazines and journals more than ever.
Students flock to dream classes in colleges and universities. There are dream
clinics, dream lectures, dream retreats, dream workshops, and seminars. You
can even get dream therapy through the mail."
Jacob, of course, had none of these things, but he did have dreams, and by
means of them he was led to great success, and back to the promise land. We
want to look at the second dream of Jacob in which we see the dream as a
source of insight and instruction. First lets look at-
Jacob had a difficult time getting a fair deal out of his father-in-law. Laban cheated
him year after year on his wages. But God came to Jacobs
aid and gave him insight into the world of genetics and heredity. By means of
a dream God taught Jacob how to raise sheep and goats in such a way that
they would have the markings that made them his livestock. He got rich by
this insight he received in a dream. His success and prosperity can be traced
to his God-given dream.
Morton Kelsey, the leading Christian scholar in the field of dreams, has
traced the history of dream insight that made people successful in their field.
Much of the creativity that we give men credit for is really a gift of God
through these individuals to the world. Beethoven and Schumann received
music in their dreams. Tartian's great work, The Devil's Trill, came to him
entirely in his sleep. Wagner, Tschaikovsky, Mozart, and Brahms have all
described composing in a dream or near dream state where the inspiration
was coming to them from another world.
Now you might object that not all of these men were Christians. Surely
God does not give inspiration to non-Christians, and insights that benefit the
world. You would be wrong to have that conviction, for a good number of the
dreams of the Bible are dreams God gave to unbelievers-that is, to pagan
Gentiles outside of the kingdom of God's people. Most notably are the
dreams of Nebuchadnezzer in Daniel that gave the world great prophecies of
the future. There is also the brief dream of Pilate's wife in the New Testament
that gave warning about treating Jesus unjustly. Here was a pagan male and
female in high places that God spoke to in dreams. There are others too, but
the point is, the Bible makes it clear, God does not limit the insights He gives to
the human race to His own people.
If something is good, true, and beautiful, the Christians is to appreciate it,
even if it comes through a non-Christian. God gives us gifts through those
who are not His people. Origen, the early church father, back in the 200's,
wrote, "That in a dream certain persons may have certain things pointed out
to them to do, is an event of frequent occurrence to many individuals."
Tertullian, another church father, born in 160A.D. said, "Who is such a
stranger to human experience as not sometimes to have perceived some truth
As I said before, this conviction faded, and for most of us today the dream
is not a source of insight, information, or inspiration. But all through history
this has been a Christian conviction. An English doctor, Sir Thomas Browne
wrote, "If there are guardian angels, they may not remain inactive while we
sleep, but may sometimes influence our dreams, and many strange hints,
insights, or discoveries which are so amazing to us, may arise from that
source." You and I may not be able to think of any such insights we have
received by means of a dream, but one of the major lessons of life to learn is