Seaborn Hall, updated 8/14/18
People who appear in our dreams can be very confusing and cause us to misinterpret an otherwise helpful dream that really is from God.
A young single man has a dream that seems to be about a really attractive, single woman at his church that he has interest in. This woman also happens to be the head of the intercessory part of the church and is known for her intimate relationship with God and for spending a lot of time in personal prayer. In the dream, the woman appears in vibrant color sitting at the head of a non-descript table. On her left is another guy, whose face is hard to discern and another woman to his left sitting next to him. At the opposite end of the table is the dreamer, observing this scene.
The scene opens when the woman begins sharing with the dreamer at the opposite end of the table that she has affection for the dreamer. The dreamer is embarrassed and not interested. Also, he is a little surprised. As the woman continues to share her interest and affection she feels somewhat embarrassed because the guy on her left has overheard the conversation and the woman does not know him – he is a stranger to her. The dreamer assures the woman that the guy does not care and that she can continue without worrying about him.
From here the dream cuts to another scene: the guy is now with the woman holding her closely on his right side as he walks into a current of water in a river with water up to above their waists. The feeling with the woman is now very intimate, if not sexual, but in a pure way, and the guy comments: “Look, the water is much clearer than it was before.” The dream ends.
The Misinterpretation Of The Dream
When the man wakes after this dream he happily embraces the day because he now believes that, yes, the woman at the church is meant for him and God is telling him that she is interested in him – all he has to do is uncover her innate shyness at expressing her affection for him.
When he approaches the woman at church the next Sunday and asks her out and does not accept “no” for an answer. she threatens to tell the pastor that he is harassing her. He is initially surprised but he walks away confident that he just needs to persist because eventually she will ‘see’ the light because God has told him that she will be his. The problem is that he has misinterpreted the dream and what God was saying!
Soon, on his next attempt to win her affections, he tells her that ‘God told him’ they were going to be together and he has ‘faith’ in God and can’t quit pursuing her. Now, if the woman is confident in herself and her own relationship with God, she will recognize spiritual manipulation and an attempt of the enemy to get her involved with someone that is not right for her. However, if she is prophetic or more sensitive, or lacking in some confidence herself, or just sexually attracted to the dreamer, there is an opening for the incident to ‘snag’ her emotionally or spiritually and she may become manipulated. She might even begin to doubt herself and think “Maybe I should just go out with him once and give him a chance. He seems so sure that this is God.”
Now there is a foothold for the enemy in the budding relationship. The enemy might even give her a false dream encouraging the relationship. There is ground for either sin, emotional entanglement and hurt, or even a wrong relationship that leads to a bad marriage to take place.
One might ask, “Why would God allow something like this?” This is a whole another conversation, but the short answer is that God uses all of our ‘mistakes’ to refine, purify, and test us. This does not mean, however, that He wants it to go on forever. His will is to move us through these ‘tests’ quickly and to help us understand. This leads us to the correct interpretation.
What Is The Correct Interpretation Of The Dream?
To understand the dream it is helpful to examine the life context of the dreamer and the dream context and symbols of the dream.
The dreamer has been a Christian for years who has tried to seek God but grown discouraged. He used to spend a lot of time in his relationship with God praying, reading the Bible, and waiting on God. Recently, however, he has become discouraged and the time he spends in prayer and waiting on God has become less and less. He feels discouraged that God doesn’t hear him or that if he spends time with God that what he hears will not help him or his life much anyway. His attitude has become “What’s the point?”
If we look at the dream according to the paradigm set out in Numbers 12:1-8 we must first look at the dream as a group of symbols to be interpreted. See, Evaluating Prophets And Prophecy for more on this. God speaks to most of us in riddles and symbols. Therefore, even people in our dreams – though at times they can be literal for the people themselves – are mostly symbols and should be looked at in that way first unless the context dictates otherwise.
In this case the symbol of the woman would represent the dreamer’s relationship with God, specifically his response to God wanting to spend time with him in relationship again. When the woman ‘confesses’ her affection for the dreamer she is God inviting the dreamer into personal intercession, into spending more time with Him. The table becomes symbolic for fellowship in this regard, but the table is not prominent because the fellowship has ‘disappeared.’ The guy and the girl sitting to the left of the woman and the right of the dreamer are probably symbolic for the masculine and feminine sides of the dreamer. The guy is ‘not paying attention’ to the affections of the girl because the dreamer is not paying attention to the attempts of the Holy Spirit to invite the dreamer into a time of prayer and waiting on God. One could further interpret this aspect of the dream as saying that the masculine and feminine of the dreamer are ‘off to the side’ or they are not at ‘the head of the table’ – meaning they are not in control of the dreamer’s destiny. Restoring relationship with God in prayer will again put the dreamer in control of his God-given destiny.
The second scene of the dream is the ‘solution’ part of the dream. It answers the life context issue of discouragement and the dream context issue of ‘How can the dreamer change his stance towards personal intercession?’ How can he get the relationship, the fellowship, back to what it was? The dream seems to promise a new season coming where the flow of water – the flow of the Holy Spirit – in his life is like a river coming up to his chest level. This is the level of his heart. This time, when he spends time with God, everything ‘will become more clear’ and his relationship will be intimate and satisfying. It will result in real leading and movement in his life.
However, if he views the girl as the solution for his life, the real problem will remain. He will continue to look for solutions to his life and to his discouragement in external ‘things’ rather than in his internal relationship with God, which is meant to put him on the true and correct course for his life.
There is, of course, a sense in which dreams, like Scripture, can speak on several different levels at once. This may not be the only interpretation of the dream, but it is the primary interpretation and other interpretations will be congruent with and not contradict the primary level.
Does the dream speak to the relationship – the romance – with the woman at all? This is a more complex level of interpretation left for another time.