When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
The Bible is full of stories of where God uses dreams to communicate with us. Here are a few examples:
- The wise men in this Gospel are warned in a dream not to return to Herod (Matthew 2:1-12)
- Joseph is told by Gabriel in a dream that Mary has become pregnant through the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20-21)
- God sent Abimelech a dream telling him not to touch Sarah, because she was Abraham’s wife; so, the king returned Sarah to her husband the next morning (Genesis 20:1-7)
- Jacob had his famous dream of a ladder reaching to Heaven (on which angels ascended and descended) where God promised that Abraham’s blessing would be carried on through him (Genesis 28:10-17)
- Joseph is one of the most famous dreamers and dream-interpreters in the Bible (Genesis 37:1-11, 40, 41)
- It was in a dream that God gave Solomon the famous offer “Ask what you wish Me to give you”; in which Solomon chose wisdom (1 Kings 3:5)
- God placed Daniel in a position of power and influence by allowing him to interpret a foreign ruler’s dreams (Daniel 2, 4)
- Pilate’s wife sent an urgent message to the governor encouraging him to free Jesus after she was prompted by a dream she had (Matthew 27:19)
Now, we all might be wondering “why” God is using dreams to often communicate with us versus just plainly-speaking with us more directly. The answer is found in Job 33:15-17: “In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction, that He may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.” So, God is using dreams, because he has our undivided attention away from the cares and worries of the world. We are to be prepared, as best that we can, to receive God’s Word and Instructions however they arrive. And, as Doris Day once beautifully sang, “dream a little dream” of Him.