On Being Warned in a Dream… Thoughts on Dreams and Memories of my Father

I have been having really strange dreams during these extended lockdowns. Some are so vivid that I can see the whole situation in my “mind’s eye” next day. Dreams are a healthy way to process all the psychological paraphernalia we have to deal with – or so we are told! Certainly I have had dreams in the past which came true. From a spiritual point of view, dreams can definitely be a warning or to guide us in decisions and often in a dream we may be commanded to take a certain course of action.

 Some Biblical examples are the wise men who were “warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod” and “they departed into their own country another way.” (Matthew 2v12) In the very next verse “the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt…” In this same chapter, in verses 19 & 20 we learn that Joseph is again spoken to by the angel of the Lord in a dream, telling him to return to the land of Israel, “for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.”

Further on in Matthew, we come to the trial of the Lord Jesus Christ; in Chapter 27v19 Pilate’s wife sends him an important message… “Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.”

The Old Testament abounds with accounts of dreams – too numerous to mention here. Jacob’s vivid dream is recounted in Genesis 28…”and he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” (Verse 12) Here is recounted the wonderful promise of God to him: “… in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (V 14) “And, behold, I am with thee in all places whither thou goest…” (V 15)

Joseph had two dreams which signified something which became reality in his life in Genesis 37, while later in Genesis 41 he was an interpreter of Pharaoh’s dreams – something which led him into an important position in which he was able to help his family and re-unite with them.

In the Book of Daniel we learn of Nebuchadnezzar’s disturbing dream and Daniel’s interpretation of it. In subsequent chapters we learn of Daniel’s dream and visions which are so prophetic. This book with its amazing stories gives God the glory over and over again. In the words of King Nebuchadnezzar who was ultimately humbled… “I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever and ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4v34)

Certainly it is true that “a dream cometh though the multitude of business…” (Ecclesiastes 5v3) and for the most part many of our dreams (and even nightmares) consist of nothing that should be taken seriously but very often dreams can signify something of importance in our lives and may even prompt us to make a certain decision or to pray for someone. On one occasion when I was young and very far from home I had a dream that our neighbour was in trouble. He cried out in this dream, disturbing me in the middle of the night and on wakening, the Lord asked me to pray for him. When I arrived home my mother told me that that our neighbour had died in the middle of the night on which I’d had the dream…

My Dad, who died 10 years ago this week, on 16th February 2011, loved to recount his dreams to my mother regularly and some of those dreams were uncanny to say the least! I miss him (and his vivid dreams) so much. He trusted the Lord to save him away back in June 1950 and this week I hope to send links to his testimony (which is amongst other testimonies on my site) to people I feel could benefit from reading it.

One of his dreams stands out in my mind, although I cannot remember the precise details of it. Dad (a farmer) was to do business with someone the following day. I believe that he was going to buy cattle from another farmer, a distance from where we lived. In the dream he could see clearly the old man who sold the cattle – and also could see the cattle which were not in good condition. He had a feeling, when he wakened, that he shouldn’t do business with this person. He travelled there anyway and when he reached the destination… the old man and his cattle were exactly as he had observed them in his dream! Needless to say he didn’t do any business that day… For years he recounted this story with a chuckle, still amazed at how clear the dream was and how the whole situation was exactly as it was in the dream.

While dreams are not always significant, I believe that the Lord may still speak to believers through dreams and indeed He speaks to the unsaved too, convicting them of their great need of Him. While we cannot always be in communication with loved ones and acquaintances we are burdened for, we can ask Him to speak to them by whatever means possible. It is better, surely, to be momentarily greatly disturbed by terrible nightmares, than to suffer the reality of a lost eternity.

These are disturbing days for many and sometimes people find it difficult to get proper sleep but the Lord’s people have this advice and this promise… “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127v2)

Today as I remember my Dad on the 10th anniversary of his death, I thank the Lord that some day I will meet him and my mother again in that beautiful great Forever. Death has been described as “the sleep with no dreams” but death for believers is to be very much alive in the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself for them. While we may be troubled by current events in our world, it is the Lord’s will that we rest in Him and commit our cares to Him. The sweetest dreams of all are the dreams of those who have placed their trust in Him for time and eternity. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26v3)

I love the hymn “Forever with the Lord” which I am thinking of in terms of Dad today. The hymn writer James Montgomery (1771-1854) who lived for a while in Northern Ireland wrote 400 hymns, many of which are still in use today – and he died quietly in his sleep… the day after he had written his last hymn. How wonderful to drift off to sleep and to waken up in the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ!

“Forever with the Lord”     (1) For Ever with the Lord! – YouTube

Forever with the Lord!

Amen, so let it be!

Life from His death is in that word

’Tis immortality.

Here in the body pent,

Absent from Him I roam,

Yet nightly pitch my moving tent

A day’s march nearer home

My Father’s house on high,

Home of my soul, how near

At times to faith’s foreseeing eye

Thy golden gates appear!

Ah! then my spirit faints

To reach the land I love,

The bright inheritance of saints,

Jerusalem above.

“Forever with the Lord!”

Forever in His will,

The promise of that faithful word,

Lord, here in me fulfil.

With You at my right hand,

Then I shall never fail;

Uphold me, Lord, and I shall stand,

Through grace I will prevail.

So when my latest breath

Breaks through the veil of pain,

By death I shall escape from death,

And life eternal gain.

That resurrection word,

That shout of victory:

Once more, “Forever with the Lord!”

Amen, so let it be!

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2 Responses to “On Being Warned in a Dream… Thoughts on Dreams and Memories of my Father”

  1. Cathy Says:

    Thank you for this interesting post Elizabeth. I’ve had experiences where the Lord has alerted me of another’s illness. One was a friend and the other was my mother soon before she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. The friend I later found out had leukemia. It’s sad that some deny that the Lord can still communicate in this way with his people. I think it’s because there’s been so much abuse that the genuine is denied.

  2. readywriterpublications Says:

    Thanks for the re-blog Cathy. Like you, I believe that the Lord does still speak to His people on occasions in this way, to make them aware of certain things. I was just thinking recently of the evangelist Duncan Campbell (1898-1972). He was very much involved in revival in the Scottish Hebrides (that “great awakening” in 1949) all those years ago. One night he had a dream that he saw someone preaching the gospel to a group of people, but when he took a closer look he saw that the preacher was the devil! He asked him why he was preaching the gospel, to which he replied… “I preach without the anointing of the spirit – and it hardens hearts.” How true this is.

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