Summary: Looking at the occurrences of dreams, particularly in Matthew 1-2
Does God Still Speak Through Dreams?
Matthew 1:20; 2:12-13, 19, 22
December 28, 2003
Well, you¡¦ve probably guessed by looking at the title of the message and the outline in your bulletin that we¡¦re not going to have a New Year¡¦s message today.
Instead, we¡¦re continuing our working through the gospel of Matthew, and I want us to take a look at something that has intrigued me for a good while now, and this was the perfect opportunity to explore this question of dreams.
Dreams are kind of a hot topic in our society today, although truth be told, this area has been a matter of interest for some time.
In my psychology class in college, I was told that everybody dreams every night, even if you don¡¦t remember them.
Some dreams are positive, some negative, but all are mysterious. I certainly don¡¦t pretend to know everything about dreams, and neither does science. They are mysterious.
Dreams are mentioned in the Bible in a number of places, and as we continue our look through the book of Matthew, we see that God used dreams a number of times.
So the question comes to mind: does God still speak through dreams today?
It¡¦s obvious that He did in the Bible, but what about today?
Well in hopes of answering that, I want us to look very quickly at four passages in Matthew, and then discuss some other examples as well to help us get a grasp on this question.
Please turn with me to Matthew chapter 1. This is on page 681 of the Bibles in the seats.
Look first at verse 20:
MT 1:20 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.
Next go over to chapter 2, verses 12-13:
12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him."
Then drop down to verses 19 and 20:
19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead."
And lastly, to verse 22:
22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee,
Let¡¦s look at three questions about this subject of dreams, shall we, as we ask God to open our hearts and minds to understand His Word.
The first question is this:
1. Why did God use dreams in the Bible?
In the Bible, God generally had two main reasons for communicating through dreams:
„Y To warn of coming events and judgments.
We have obvious examples in the dreams given to Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar, when God was about to bring famine, or when He was about to humble a king by making Him insane, eating grass.
The second main reason God communicated through dreams was¡K
„Y To give specific guidance and direction.
This was the case with the magi and Joseph. God gave them specific guidance and direction.
¡§Take Mary as your wife, because what has been done in her is from God.¡¨
¡§Avoid Herod, because he¡¦s a slime, and he just wants to know where the baby is to kill Him.¡¨
¡§Take the baby to Egypt, for His safety and yours.¡¨
¡§Okay, bring Him back to Israel now, the danger has passed.¡¨
So at times God used dreams to give specific direction and guidance.
God had purposes for dreams. The next question we want to explore today regarding dreams is¡K
2. Who did He give them to?
„Y Whoever He wanted to use.
That¡¦s fairly obvious from looking at Scripture.
God gave dreams to Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, and to the baker and cup bearer for Pharaoh. They were certainly not followers of God.
He gave dreams to the magi and to Joseph.
God gave dreams to whoever He wanted.
„Y Interpretation came through His people.
This is so incredibly important.
Think about this for a moment. God gave two serious dreams to Pharaoh. He had some plans, and wanted Pharaoh to know them.
But who finally got called to interpret the dreams? Joseph ¡V a Hebrew ¡V a follower of Jehovah God, the God of the Bible.