Dreams: can they be trusted?

We all have dreams. Just how valid are they? The Preacher had this summation: “Much dreaming and many words are meaningless,” (Ecc.5: 7). Dreams and visions frightened Job (7: 14). They do not supply food or drink (Isa.29: 8). They can also be very deceptive (Jer.29: 8). Joseph for his dreams was hated by his brothers and sold into slavery (Gen.37). Daniels’ dreams still puzzle Bible interpreters. A dream saved the baby Jesus from being killed by Herod (Mt.2: 13). The first Christians linked Pentecost to Joel 2:28-32 when old men shall have dreams and young men visions (Ac.2: 16-21). These Christians expected the Day of the Lord to accompany the outpouring of the Spirit. Two thousand years later, Joel is still a dream. Zechariah concluded that those that follow dreams are people that wander about for lack of a shepherd (10: 2).

In antiquity, dreams were judged by their fulfillments. They were inspired by the supernatural. Interpreters like Joseph and Daniel were highly respected. But dreamers whose predictions did not materialize could lose their lives (Deut.13: 5). In our day, some believe that God or Christ is still giving them directions through dreams. In contrast, I belong to those that find all of the Lord’s answers in the Bible. When I dream, some are pleasant and others are scary. I do not care to fall off a cliff or be hunted by some monster and wake up screaming in sweat. Psychoanalysts could have a hay day with my dreams. I do know that dreams can torture our minds. My mother had some dreams that came through while many others were devastating her disposition. She was the kind of person that could not hurt anybody; yet, her dreams accused her of acts she could never have done. If they were not demonic, what else were they?

A German Proverb says that dreams are like vapor. How can one trust something that just evaporates?