Dreams fascinate us. They can tease us with hopes that they may come true, but they can also terrify.
In the past, as in some cultures today, dreams were often treated as portents of the future. So people called on the ‘wise’ and fortune-tellers to interpret their dreams.
These days modern psychology suggests that dreams can reveal our subconscious desires and fears. However, there are well-documented occasions when individuals have some kind of premonition of the future – particularly of disaster.
Daniel chapter 2 records a dream King Nebuchadnezzar experienced. It was so real that he called in his wise men and scientists, wanting them to tell him its meaning. However, he had forgotten what it was.
They were threatened with death if they couldn’t interpret the forgotten dream. Then Daniel was called in. Being acquainted with the situation Daniel informed his three companions and asked them to pray. Prayer was an essential part of Daniel’s life. He prayed because he trusted God.
In Daniel, chapter 2, verse 19 we read: Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night…
In answering Daniel’s prayer God showed him both Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its meaning. In essence, the dream revealed to Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel and the Israelite exiles in Babylon, that there would be the rise and fall of four great empires (Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome). But over all and throughout it all, God would be there, working out his purposes for his people.
This is an extraordinary glimpse into the nature and work of God. He is sovereign over the universe. What is more, unseen behind the noise and drama of human decisions and events, God is tirelessly working out his purposes, especially for his people.
The purpose of the dream Nebuchadnezzar experienced was to encourage God’s people to persevere. They were going through dreadful times. Exiled from Jerusalem, they had lost all that was dear to them. ‘Never give up,’ God was saying to them. He says the same to us today: ‘Never give up your trust in me, your prayer, or your courage to serve’.
Reflect. We cannot live a meaningful life in the present unless we believe something positive about the future. What hope do you have for the future? Is your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ such that it keeps your life fresh and filled with great expectations in God’s plans?
You may also find it helpful to read Daniel, chapter 2 and Romans 5:1-5
A Prayer. Lord God, you declare your mighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: grant us such a measure of your grace so that, running in the way of your commandments, we may obtain your promises, and share in your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
© John G. Mason