Sunday, July 6, 2008

Genesis 28 - Still

(I'm back from a short wedding filled trip to North Carolina. Let's pick up where we left off in chapter 28.)

Has God lost a step?

Does He still have His A game?

Is He still as sharp and as skilled at being God as He used to be?

I raised those questions on stuff christians like one day and I think they still need to be raised. Why? Because sometimes I act like He's not as powerful as He used to be. And this chapter is a perfect example of what I mean.

In chapter 28, God speaks to Jacob through a dream. While asleep, he dreams about a staircase and God speaks truth to him. Dream messages are actually not that unusual in the Bible. Joseph gets several messages when Jesus was being born and it's easy to go back through the Bible and find several other examples. But what if your friend told you God had done the same thing to them last night? What would you think?

I confess, I'd think that was a little weird. I would have a hard time believing them. And the reason is that sometimes my God is pretty tame. I mean He only really uses the Bible and maybe sometimes people to speak to me. A dream? A sunset? A nightmare? A song? That's iffy at best.

But maybe God hasn't changed. Maybe that's part of what it means for Him to be unchangeable. Maybe deep in sleep is a land He still wants to rule. Maybe last night's dream was actually this day's challenge.

In the last six months, I've had two nightmares that shook me up in a spiritual way. Was it just that I ate something weird before bed? Has God vacated the dreams we have? Hard to say, but if God is unchangeable, then maybe, just like Jacob, we need to admit He gets to choose the way He speaks, even if we're not awake.


Anonymous said...

This really blessed me because I've had some really vivid dreams recently and I have tried to dismiss them as "just dreams". Now it's time to wait and see what God has in store.

Mev Dominee said...

Hi Jon

Just thought I would pop in and say thank you for your posts. Please keep it up. Your 3 blogs are on my daily read list an I check everyday to see if there is something new.

Just keep it up and may God bless you.



Josh said...

I love what Shane Claiborne says in The Irresistible Revolution. He says,

"Back at college, I had asked one of my Bible teachers if he still believed in miracles, like when Jesus fed thousands of people with a couple of fishes and a handful of loaves. And I wondered if God was still into that stuff. I wanted miracles to be normal again. He told me that we have insulated ourselves from miracles. We no longer live with such reckless faith that we need them. There is rarely room for the transcendent in our lives. If we get sick, we go to a doctor. If we need food, we go to a store and buy it. We have eliminated the need for miracles. If we had enough faith to depend on God like the lilies and sparrows do, we would see miracles. For is it not a miracle that the birds find enough worms each day?"

sara said...

I think these are really important questions to ask, and I thank you for not shying away from them. I believe God still speaks in dreams today - why not? I have had the experience of knowing God was telling me something in a's very cool and weird all at the same time. And it totally blows the door off my tame, in-a-box-and-on-a-shelf God. Which is awesome. Thanks for touching on the idea of having a bigger God than we think that can do things beyond our understanding.

I so enjoy this particular blog...Stuff Christians Like is awesome and funny and I enjoy it every day, usually laughing out loud, but this one is some nuggets of truth that can penetrate my heart, and I enjoy taking those "97 seconds" from my day and hearing what God is teaching you. Thanks for that.

niaRfOdnoF said...

I really believe that God still uses dreams and intuition to speak to people.

and I believe that I am one of those people.

I have really strong feelings sometimes, insights into situations that in reality I don't know the truth about. But I'll find out later (days, months, sometimes years) that those feelings were right. And by having those feelings before I found out the truth, it's softened some blows and helped me make some decisions. I think God knows that I need some extra time to work through things internally before actually facing them.

I also have had several prophetic dreams. Nothing as intense as predicting 7 years of famine...but ever since I was little I've had dreams that end up causing deja vu moments in my life.

My favorite example is when I had stitches in my thumb (how I cut my thumb is another great story). The night before I was supposed to get them taken out I had a dream in which the doctor took them out and my thumb split back open. So I went to the doctor all scared about having them taken out. Well, the doctor started testing them to see if they were ready, and said "nope these are not ready to come out." But I already knew that. lol

kirsten said...

too, too true. a few months ago i had this dream that was too real to ignore. it reminded me that there is an enemy who seeks to devour us, and a God who is there in the night.

tess said...

I've been wondering about this very thing lately. I have frequent, vivid dreams and honestly hope that most of them mean nothing. However, with some of them I wonder...Does the dream I had last night about a friend that I haven't talked to in years telling me he's lost faith in God mean something? Should I try to get in touch with him? Or at least pray for him? I think it probably does. A few months ago, I wouldn't have even considered that. But after an interesting discussion at a small group, I've tried to think about my dreams differently. And after reading your post today, I think that's maybe not a bad idea. Once again, I appreciate your insight! Thanks!

Gin said...

Just wanted to tell you I'm really enjoing this walk thru the Bible with you. I like your other site, it cracks me up daily actually, however I really appreciate what you say over here.
And hey, I'll read through the whole Bible with you if you keep it up.
And I'll pray that you keep your head on straight when your book catapults you to stardom. I know I'll need that kind of prayer if it ever happens to me.
As a fellow writer trying to get a break, I feel for you!

Anonymous said...

A strange story, if you would.

A few weeks ago, I felt a strong urge to listen to Led Zeppelin IV while I was getting ready for bed. I read a devotional and, as the last strains of Stairway to Heaven, picked up my Bible and flipped open to this passage (which involves the ladder connecting heaven and earth). I couldn't help but feel that this was no strange coincidence, but an opportunity to listen to God in his mysterious ways.

A few nights ago, I also conceived of an idea for a story in a dream. I've had writer's block for eight years. Maybe it means something, maybe it doesn't.

Not to get ahead of you, but I find great importance in the very beginning of chapter 29: "And Jacob went on a journey."

And my name is actually Jacob.

- Jacob

Anonymous said...

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He can speak in a dream, through an angel (even if I don't recognize it as an angel), or through His Spirit (as one might refer to as intuition). He can perform a great miracle- healing, provision, WHATEVER HE WANTS!!!

I think the problem some people (myself included) with hearing people say, "God spoke to me in a dream" or "God's Spirit spoke to me" is when what God has supposedly said is at odds with His word. "God told me to leave my wife." (I really have heard this!) "God told me in a dream to sell everything I have and move to Grand Tomlinson Island. Yes, I know I owe a lot of people a lot of money, and a lot of creditors a lot of money, but when God speaks...." "I prayed about it, and I felt God's voice saying, "Yes. Go into great debt, and buy this luxury car so that people will see that I am a great God!"

Or, sometimes, what God is saying is just a random thought someone has. As a worship coordinator, I often hear (usually a few minutes before the service...and often after everything has been prepared for said service) "I feel God telling me to sing a brand new song- 'PraiseLoveEternity'- rather than How Great is Our God." No concept of how many people involved in the service this will affect. Yeah, the guy putting the words into powerpoint is the fastest typist in the entire state and can have this done in 3.2 seconds or less, even though you don't have a copy of the music for him. The ushers will also hear from God that rather than coming forward to take the offering during "How Great is Our God," that they will need to come forward during 'PraiseLoveEternity.' My question is: Did God wake up that morning and say, "Oh crap! I forgot to tell the awesome bald metrosexual worship leader at iRelevantRockinItOut church that I want him to sing 'PraiseLoveEternity' for the offertory. I'd better tell him NOW or the entire service will be irrelevant!" And then when I mention all the issues this will cause, the worship leader says, "I just feel this is what God is telling me to do." (And if I had the deep spiritual understanding that the worship leader has, perhaps God would have spoken to me, too.)

Please don't misunderstand me. I have had dreams about people, and truly felt God was reminding me to stay in touch with that person. I have suddenly thought of someone, and felt 'led' to call or text them. And who knows, other than God, what that call or text did for that person. YES, God can and does speak to us and He still performs miracles every day. Just watch the traffic on the freeway and you will see His grace at work. But let's be very careful about what we attribute to divine intervention.

(I usually put my google name here, but I just feel God leading me to write this one anonymously.)

Flesheater said...

When I got saved, I went to the same church where I got saved, twice a week, without missing for 2 years.

I finally got comfortable enough to ask some questions to my youth pastor. (took me long enough)

Ever since I can remember, I have had nightmares... almost never a good dream.

and some of them seem really spiritual to me. like some message I can't quite translate.

I questioned my youth pastor about this, and no matter what I said, he just kept talking about what I was eating before I went to bed :/

G-d is still the same G-d and I believe He still does those things.