If Only Dreams
Philosophy View of Dreams
A series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep.
A cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal.
Biblical View of Dreams
Samuel asked Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So, I have called on you to tell me what to do.”
1 Samuel 28:15 NIV
Dreams are an essential part of many Biblical stories and passages. They offer insight and foresight into the favored decisions or actions that should be made. Many dreams include visions of divine symbols or the Lord himself, sharing wisdom that changed the course of history. Conversely, some dreams present a clear example of what could go wrong if the way of God is abandoned.
Solomon, the King of Israel and the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes, had a reputation for wisdom. His account was a focal point that attached people from around the world. Ecclesiastes 6:9-10 states that Solomon advises people to be content and receive their daily life from God's hand.
Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.
That which hath is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.
Ecclesiastes 6:9-10 KJV
Sometimes we, as a child of God, complain too much, leading to frustration. Solomon, the teacher in this book, explains that although people cannot discover the whole plan of God for their life, they can still be obedient to what they already know, which is his will. What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
He made everything beautiful in his time: also, he set the world in their hearts so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
I know there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice and do good in his life.
And also, that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labour; it is the gift of God.
Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 KJV
One part of God’s is that we live a lifestyle of contentment with what he has graciously given us, no matter how much or how little he blesses us with. Enjoying what you have involves thinking about how to make the most of it. If we could put our time and energy into enjoying what we have instead of dreaming, if only dreams, we would find the potential for laughter, social interactions, and happiness right under our noses.
As a child growing up, I have seen people playing games with each other using sticks, stones, plants, flowers, sand, rocks, food, drink, and simple cardboard boxes. In our Afro-Caribbean cultures, there seems to be much demand for garish plastic playthings. More and more entertaining paraphernalia and memorabilia are connected with sales pitches or the latest toy or recreational fads.
Yet the more children get, the more they seem to want because the media tells them they can’t be happy unless they have the newest or latest toys. Many parents have an uphill battle to focus on present realities to explore their children’s potential creatively and to refuse to join the world in keeping up with the Joneses, where their children are concerned. This is not easy, but the Lord wants to help us. So, take the teachers, advice, and enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don't have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless; it’s like chasing the wind.
The Bible generally speaks of dreams in a very down-to-earth and realistic way. In the book of Job and the Psalms, for example, the dream is described as something that “flies away” Job 20: 8. It is something fleeting that “is gone when one awakens” Psalm 73:20.
He shall fly away as a dream and shall not be found; yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night.
Job 20:8 KJV
They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.
Psalm 73:20 NIV
At the same time, in both Old and New Testament times, people were convinced that, in exceptional cases, God could speak to people through the dream.
Some Examples of Dream
God came to King Abimelech, the king of Gerar, in a dream at night and warned him not to touch Sarah because she was another man’s wife Genesis 20: 3.
God came to the Aramaean Laban in a dream and warned him to say something to Jacob. Genesis 31:24
The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night 1 Kings 3: 5.
The wise men who visited Joseph and Mary sometime after Jesus’ birth received a divine warning in a dream; they should not return to the murderous Herod Matthew 2:12.
Job describes sleep as a state in which God can “open the ears of men” to his voice Job 33: 14-16.
God’s influence encompasses our whole life. In the same way that a person can be affected by God’s spirit when awake, God can speak to them in sleep, through dreams.
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