Articles Grief Dreams

Is it possible to prevent a calamity when warned of impending danger in a dream?  Do such dreams give us a glimpse of the future and forewarn us of a potential threat? Could God be involved in directing the course of your life through such dreams? 

I remember the time my sister dreamed our parents had a car accident. She regretted not praying for them when later she found out my father had rolled the car while driving in wet conditions.

In my book, In Your Dreams’, I referred to the record of Abraham Lincoln’s dream where he dreamed his own assassination. This occurred just two weeks before he was shot dead while attending a theatre unguarded. The president was known to have an interest in the meaning of dreams and their predictive power. It seemed likely the dream was warning the President to be more vigilant with additional security around his life.

We can see from Job 33:14-18 God’s involvement in using dreams to forewarn, to guide and protect. It is up to man to perceive it. 

Job 33:14-18 (NKJV)
For God may speak in one way, or in another,
Yet man does not perceive it.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night,
When deep sleep falls upon men,
While slumbering on their beds,
16 Then He opens the ears of men,
And seals their instruction.
17 In order to turn man from his deed,
And conceal pride from man,
18 He keeps back his soul from the Pit,
And his life from perishing by the sword.

Other accounts in the Bible refer to many instances where God used dreams to warn people of imminent threat, a wrong decision or a sinful and destructive character flaw.

King AbimelechGen 20:3-7
LabanGen 31:24
NebuchadnezzarDaniel 4:10-18
JosephMatthew 2:13
Pilate’s WifeMatthew 27:9
Act of ignorance could lead to sin and death/protection for Sarah
Jacob’s Protection
Warning on Pride
Warning to flee to Egypt
Warning not to be involved in the sentencing of Jesus

It seems apparent that warning dreams particularly focused on sin are an expression of God’s mercy and compassion. With such a dream, God allows time for repentance prior to judgment.

The life of King Nebuchadnezzar is an example of this. His pride and oppression of the poor did not go unnoticed by God.

In Daniel chapter 4 the King experienced a frightening dream of a large tree reaching the sky. It was symbolic of his life and powerful empire. A heavenly messenger appeared in the dream with an alarming message for the King, which caused him great distress.

Daniel 4:14 -17 (NLT)
14 The messenger shouted,
“Cut down the tree and lop off its branches!
    Shake off its leaves and scatter its fruit!
Chase the wild animals from its shade
    and the birds from its branches.
15 But leave the stump and the roots in the ground,
    bound with a band of iron and bronze
    and surrounded by tender grass.
Now let him be drenched with the dew of heaven,
    and let him live with the wild animals among the plants of the field.
16 For seven periods of time,
    let him have the mind of a wild animal
    instead of the mind of a human.
17 For this has been decreed by the messengers;
    it is commanded by the holy ones,
so that everyone may know
    that the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world.
He gives them to anyone he chooses—
    even to the lowliest of people.”

After interpreting the king’s dream, Daniel appealed to him in verse Daniel 4: 27 (NLT):

“King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.”

God in His mercy gave the king twelve months to change his ways before executing his judgment. (Daniel 4:29)

A warning dream does not necessarily have to be about judgment. Such dreams may draw attention to a number of possible issues— health concerns, fractured relationships or any practical matter left unattended.

A lecturer in business studies and information technology approached me after one of my sessions and said, “I wish I had heard you speak on this subject before. I could have prevented smashing my car into a tree.” She went on to explain how she had a recurring dream, where she was driving her car and the accelerator kept jamming to the floor. She’d never thought to have her accelerator checked by a mechanic.

When it comes to warning dreams, Job 33:14 states that a person may not always perceive God’s involvement. Depending on the context of the dream, it might be warning for you be careful about getting involved with a certain relationship or business deal, or it may be addressing your health, a character flaw or sin habit.

Whatever the case, as you pray and look to the Holy Spirit’s leading, I am confident you will find the assurance and confidence to know how to appropriately respond.