Journal Matt 2 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “And (the three wise men), being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way…
Now, when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said…
But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt…”
But when (Joseph) heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and, being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee…”
excerpts from Matt 2:12-23
Observation: God moves in mysterious ways…. like dreams… instruments of grace…
Analysis: I am looking at this chapter and the charismatic is coming out in me.
Mary gets an angel visiting her. Joe gets a dream. Even John’s dad, Zechariah, gets an angel (c. Luke 1:11) appearing in front of him.
What would I rather have? An angel? Some would say that would be cool. Or a dream?
I wonder why the Holy Spirit uses dreams. It seems so much simpler and straightforward just to have direct, person to person, spoken communication: “Do [this], or [that].”
Of course, there would be a downside to the above: it would eliminate faith in the Scriptures as the predominate authority—the supremacy of the Word.
How many times have I prayed, “Lord, speak to me like you did with Zach and Joe? I can’t, will not go further until I get a visitation.” ZERO is the number of times I should have prayed that; candidly I confess there have been a few. And during those few times, I got the impression of a figure with his arms crossed, saying: “Ok, try again, bozo. I am not your genie.”
There is another downside: the enemy can use dreams as well. Objective? To lead people astray. (cp. Jude 8: “Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme…”, also Col 2:18 “Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions….” )
So, what are the function of dreams? It is a way that God uses to communicate with His people. That is clear from the Scriptures. Is it a common communication? No. I think that it is used when other modes of authoritative communication is not possible (although there is a function of interpretation of dreams in the Gift listings…)
Should I pay attention to dreams? I do. I am aware that I need to pay attention to His whisper.
However, I have His Word for guidance. The more I am seeking Him through His Word, I have stronger and more thorough guidance. The unintended consequence is that I am more sensitive to His whisper and guidance—which includes dreams (I think).
The Gifts of the Spirit are a part of the toolbox for Christians. I think (and I may be in the minority) that these should be actively sought. After all, God directs us to earnestly do that (1 Cor 14:1)
Prayer: Interesting night last night, Father. You gave me a dream. Did you do that because of this posting? I am puzzled about what the world might call the psychological effects of the substance of dreams. Never mind: Your Word is solid and trustworthy. Your given dreams will not move Your Word.
Help me broaden the function of spiritual gifts in my life.
Cause revival. AMEN