Over at Successful-Blog Liz Strauss wrote yesterday about learning writing tips from Peter Gabriel. Now I was a Peter Gabriel fan back in the day. His lyrics are thought provoking and his music is emotional. He was incredibly entertaining (not to mention having a completely Biblical name.)
Reading Liz’s post got me to thinking about dreams and visions. How important are they in our lives?
If you’ve ever been to a “success” seminar, especially here in the Bible Belt, you’ve likely heard someone say, “The Bible says that where there is no vision, people perish.”
Is it true?
Well let’s take a look. The verse those speakers is referring to is Proverbs 29:18. Usually those speakers are referring to the King James Version. In that translation it appears to be a stand alone statement. But when you look at some other translations the statement appears a little different. Go ahead and click on the link for the verse and read through the five different translations there of that sentence. (I’ll wait here for a minute.) What’s that all about?
Well different translators have gone back to the original languages in the biblical texts over the years and translated it from those original languages into English. Language being what it is, sometimes the translations come out slightly different from each other.
So what I do when I’m trying to understand a particular passage is read several different translations, compare them and work out what the original author really meant. That’s why you’ll see me reference different translations sometimes when I talk about Bible stuff.
Does that mean the others are wrong? Nope. Not at all. It just means that I understand the scripture best from whichever translation I reference.
All that said, I like the way the New Living Translation puts it:
When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.
So what’s the vision? It’s divine guidance. Whoa!
That makes total sense. If we refuse divine guidance we will run wild and eventually perish. And at the same time if we accept it and live by God’s biblical principles we will be happy. And happy is in the big three that everyone wants! (The other two are thin and rich in case you were wondering. Everybody wants to be thin, rich and happy.)
So we need to accept divine guidance. But what does that have to do with dreams and visions? Actually a bunch. Let me give you a partial list of folks the Bible says that God influenced through dreams and visions:
- Joseph (husband of Mary)
The list reads like a who’s who of the Bible, complete with the good, the bad and the ugly. It starts at the very beginning in Genesis and doesn’t end until the final book of the New Testament in Revelation. There is a consistent pattern of God communicating with people this way throughout scripture. And that makes sense because the Bible also says that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So He is still using dreams and visions to communicate with folks.
The folks on the list all were offered an opportunity to do great things for God. Many of them took that chance and changed their world. Some didn’t. Some started out well and finished in disgrace. And others had really bad starts but finished well.
I once heard someone say that the stories we read in the Bible fall into two basic categories. Some are there to encourage us and show what we can accomplish if we choose to listen to God. Others are there as examples for us and show us what can happen if we choose not to listen to God.
What’s your dream? To be an encouragement or an example?
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