Over time, I have written quite a bit about dreams and their interpretations here at Out of the Fire. Some dreams are very literal and to the point. Little interpretation is needed, because we immediately understand their meanings. However, many dreams are symbolic, and therefore not very useful in their raw form. We need to interpret them and then be able to apply the interpretation, in order to get the maximum benefit from them.
In Genesis 41, we read of Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams of the fat and lean cattle and the plump and blighted heads of grain. The story reveals three sequential parts of hearing from the Lord through dreams:
- Pharaoh tells Joseph the actual dream – vs. 17-24
- Joseph tells Pharaoh what the dream represents and whom it concerns, which is the interpretation – vs. 25-32
- Finally, Joseph suggests to Pharaoh an appropriate response to the dream, which is the application. – vs. 33-36.
The application lets us know more than what the symbols mean. It often answers the question, “So, what do I do about it?” Interpretation can be difficult, but application is by far the most challenging part of understanding our dreams.
We need the Lord for all three parts: He is the Originator of the dream, He is the only One Who can give us the correct interpretation, and we also receive the application as revelation from Him. Dreams are communion between the Spirit of God and our spirit. Therefore, our intellect, which is part of our soul (not our spirit) is incapable of correctly understanding a dream to its fullest extent. If we try to figure out our dreams by our intellect, we will make grave mistakes.
When Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am told you can understand a dream to interpret it,” Joseph replied, “It is not in me. God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (vs. 15, 16). In other words, Joseph knew he must depend upon God, rather than any mental abilities, logic, or talents he possessed, to obtain correct understanding of the dream.
I’d like to offer those of you who are interested in understanding dreams an opportunity to walk through one of my recent dreams with me. We will do this in two parts. In this post, I’ll tell you the dream — which is the raw data, the facts.
Dreams can have several layers of meaning or application. I believe this one is personal to me, but also has a universal application. See if you can find that general meaning.
I was in a basement room at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. (Upfront hint: This is NOT literally about the International House of Prayer. It is symbolic.) I was holding a small, rectangular, silver-colored metal box. In it was a treasure. An evil-looking man attacked me, trying to take my treasure. I scuffled with him once, getting beat up in the process, and my attacker overcame me. But although I was not able to prevail against the man, I was still able to hang onto my treasure.
A little later on, the evil man attacked me again, in an effort to steal my treasure. We both had handguns. I don’t remember any actual shooting going on, but we did a lot of physical grappling in the course of the struggle. This time, I completely overcame him. I managed to lock him in the basement room, and then I escaped.
I ran up a set of stairs, and at the top, I immediately saw three security guards (one woman and two men) who worked for the house of prayer. They were dressed in baby blue, jumpsuit uniforms.
I told them that a man who had killed five people in the past at the house of prayer was downstairs, armed, locked in a room.
Although the security guards carried rifles, I could see that they were very afraid about having to deal with this. So, I asked the woman guard, who was at the top of the stairs, if she would like me to call 911 to get the police, and she said yes.
I went to a nearby office to get access to a telephone, and the dream ended with me calling 911. As I was making the call, I felt frustrated that the security guards had not been able to take care of the situation. I was concerned that the bad guy might escape through a basement window, because dealing with him was taking too long.
Now that you’ve read the dream, take time to ponder it. Ask the Lord to show you what the overall message is, and also what the individual symbols speak of. Wait on Him for answers. Let Him apply Scripture to it. Keep coming back to it, asking for revelation.
When you think you have received what the symbols in the dream mean, write them down and keep them for later discussion.
In the next post, I will share with you my interpretations of some of the symbols showing up, and also some applications I see. At that time I invite you to share via a comment whatever God has revealed to you about the dream.
I hope you will have fun with this!
The Dream Book: A Practical Guide to Christian Dream Interpretation,
by Lee Ann Rubsam
Hearing God Through Your Dreams (Workshop, CD set or mp3 )
by Lee Ann Rubsam