Mo 2/6Tu 2/7We 2/8Th 2/9Fr 2/10Sa 2/11Su 2/12
Gen. 39
Mark 9
Gen. 40
Mark 10
Gen. 41
Mark 11
Gen. 42
Mark 12
Gen. 43
Mark 13
Gen. 44
Mark 14
Gen. 45
Mark 15

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

I have a confession to make: I have often found myself envying the men in Genesis who received revelations from God through dreams and visions. My temptation is to wish God would speak directly to me, so that I might hear His voice in the same way.

I’ve come to think this discontentment mainly stems from one place: ingratitude for the Word of God.

In Matthew 16, Jesus tells the Pharisees and Sadducees who were asking Him for a sign from heaven, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah” (Matt. 16:4). Jesus was reminding them that God had already revealed Himself in Scripture. If they refused to believe the signs recorded for them in the Old Testament prophets, why should the Lord give them new signs?

The lesson is the same for us. Scripture is the primary way God has revealed Himself to us, and Hegenerally withholds special signs from those who refuse to believe what He has already clearly made known. If we are ungrateful for the inspired Word of God, we should not expect God to give us special signs like dreams to convince us of who He is. Furthermore, if the prophet Jonah was enough for the Jews of Jesus’ day to believe, how much better is the sign of Jesus rising from the dead for us!

The time of the patriarchs was a time in the history of God’s people where personal dreams and visions played a more prominent role than they do in most of our lives today. The mystical and meaningful nature of those dreams might leave us wondering why things were so different back then. We may even find ourselves discontent that we don’t experience the same things. But let us remember a couple things.

First of all, the revelation of God through dreams and visions was still quite rare in those days. Even in the case of Abraham, his direct interactions with Yahweh may have been few and far between if we remember that they were spread throughout Abraham’s 175 years of life. Though we don’t know for sure, it’s possible that decades may have passed between the LORD’s direct communications with Abraham. And that’s not to mention that Abraham died without seeing the fulfillment of most of what God had promised to him (see Heb. 11:8–13).

Furthermore, in God’s kindness, we—and an ever-increasing number of people across the face of the whole earth—have these patriarchal dreams and visions and their interpretations permanently recorded for us in God’s Word. The patriarchs had no such blessing. In fact, we have more revealed to us in one worship service, or even in one daily Bible reading, than the patriarchs had in their entire lifetime.

I believe the Lord does still speak to people through dreams and visions today. But He seems to especially do so in parts of the world where God’s Word is rare or yet unknown. We should remember this if we find ourselves wishing that God would give us a sign from heaven. We have the Word of God made absolutely clear in the Bible, and it contains for us everything we need to know about God’s will for us in Christ Jesus, whom He raised from the dead. Praise be to God!

VERSE TO MEDITATE ON

They said to him, “We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God?”
—Genesis 40:8

HOW TO PRAY

  • Adoration – Praise God for being a God who reveals Himself.
  • Confession – Confess ways you have been ungrateful for the Word of God.
  • Thanksgiving – Thank God for specific people who have labored to teach you God’s Word.
  • Supplication – Pray for the continued translation of God’s Word into more languages, so that more people over the face of the whole earth might know Jesus Christ.

Click HERE to ask the pastors a question about anything in your Bible reading.

This post by Alex McNeilly

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

Recent Ask the Pastors answers . . .

Old Testament Prosperity vs. New Testament Suffering

QUESTION In the Old Testament, obeying God seems so clearly tied to physical prosperity. God even promises no miscarriages and long life in Exodus 23:26. But in the New Testament, we are actually promised suffering if we follow Christ. Why the switch in expectations...

What’s up with Ecclesiastes?

QUESTION There seem to be some pretty troubling statements in Ecclesiastes about how we are supposed to think and live. For example, Ecclesiastes 8:15, which was read in church this past Sunday, says, "There is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to...

What does it mean that love “believes all things”?

QUESTION In 1 Corinthians 13:7, what does it mean that love "believes all things, hopes all things"? It kinda sounds like that means we're supposed to just believe everything, but that doesn't seem right… ANSWER Whenever we interpret Scripture, we must use Scripture...