"The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there He revealed Himself to Samuel through His word."- I Samuel 3:21
Vacations are often filled with many adventures, activities, and amazing memories. There are the unique locations, special events, great eateries, unexpected highlights, and change of pace to one's schedule that creates a colossal week of fun, refreshing, and focused time with family and friends. Last week our family had our annual vacation to the Palm Springs area where we enjoyed tons of time at the poolside, playing ping-pong, watching soccer, and our traditionally trip to "Bob's Big Boy".
But there were two unexpected moments on this week-long getaway that highlighted my need for the Lord's fullness in my life and faith. I had two dreams- very different, but equally vivid and purposeful in nature. The first dream was a STRANGE and UNSETTLING dream where I was awoken at three in the morning (yuck and yawn at the same time). The content of the dream was so ridiculously far from reality, that I know that it is something that would never take place, but it still made a point that was important. As I was jarred awake from the oddity of my dreamland, I almost immediately recognized that I need to spend more time in the Bible. Over the last month, in the midst of the pressures of the church property transition, the kids finishing the school year, and getting things in order before getting out of town, I had not been in the Word as much as I need to be. This dream confirmed to me that I need to refocus my heart and mind in His Word, in order to keep the crazy stuff, the confusion, and the outright lies out!
The second dream was another important lesson. In this dream there was a RESULT that I was unhappy with. While I was immersed in the dream and the feeling of disappointment from the event was taking place I thought "I shouldn't be upset about something I have failed to cover in prayer!" Like the first dream, I awoke and immediately felt the direction to a faith act. I began at that very moment to begin praying for my family and for our church. What an interesting and impactful thing, that one dream the lesson came after waking up, while the other lesson came while in the dream itself. I would say that God was definitely getting my attention with a holy wake-up call!
I share my vacation story and memory to remind us that God is in the 24/7, 365 day a year business of speaking and revealing Himself to us. Whether it is through our time in the Word and prayer, hearing a sermon, a person He sends our way with a message, and yes, even through dreams and visions, the Lord wants to make Himself known to us. He has a message, an answer, a promise and encouragement, a direction for us to take. It should not come as a surprise to us that the Lord speaks to His people through dreams and visions. For throughout the Bible we see how the Lord revealed His heart and plan to Jacob, Daniel, Joseph, Gideon, Mary, Peter, John, and countless others in this manner. Here are two Scriptures to bring this point home for us:
Deuteronomy 29:29- "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law."
Acts 2:17- "In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams."
One of my favorite accounts of God speaking through dreams is with Samuel the prophet (see scripture at top of this article). Samuel was committed and dedicated to the Lord for a life of service by the hands of his mother and father. As a young boy, while serving with Eli the priest, God calls Samuel and reveals a message. As Samuel grows so too does His walk with the Lord and the communication line He has with Yahweh. In the above verse it says that the Lord would download His heart and plan to the prophet in a place called SHILOH. What is so interesting about this specific place is that the name means, "He who it belongs to". This place, Shiloh, in the Old Testament was often the place the Lord's presence was manifest as the people came together. It also carries with it a Messianic title and purpose. We understand that all wisdom, authority, and power belongs to our God.
The Lord does want to meet with us, speak to our hearts, and give us real-life help and answers that will produce greater results and victories for the realities we face. Take time to consider what God is speaking and/or teaching through the dreams that you have. Be careful in being too quick to dismiss the dreams based on what you ate or what has pre-occupied your thoughts that day. The Lord may be trying to get your attention, prepare you for what is ahead, or keep you from some serious trouble. Let's believe that the same Lord who walks with us while we are awake, watches over us while we sleep. Our heavenly Father cares for us and communicates to us in so many ways that we may know Him and follow Him all the days of our lives. As Proverbs 6:22 says of a father's commands, "When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will speak to you."