Dreams could sometimes be very significant by virtue of their timing. God speaks through dreams.
In Matthew 1:20, Joseph had a great crisis of emotions. His fiancée was pregnant, and he was not responsible. What was he going to do? He gave much thought to it and apparently slept off, still brooding, after having decided he would disengage from her quietly, without embarrassing her himself. That night he had a dream that specifically addressed the topmost issue over which he had fallen asleep the previous night. That dream, it turned out, was God’s voice to him.
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:20)
He got up assured that it was God who had spoken to him. But it certainly took faith to accept the dream. That was not the last time he was to have that experience. In less than a year, he had another very coincidental dream in which his name and circumstances were specifically cited, with an instruction what to do with his young family (Matthew 2: 13-15,19).
In 2 Samuel 7, David sought counsel from Prophet Nathan his personal spiritual adviser, on his proposed project of a temple for God. The prophet praised the proposal very elaborately and encouraged the king to go on. The prophet was only to learn later that what had seemed to him such a laudable project had not been so considered by God.
…THAT NIGHT, the word of the LORD came unto Nathan… (v.4)
The scripture does not here say by what means the word of the Lord came to the prophet “that night”; but noting other similar experiences and expressions in the Scripture, we can say that the prophet had had a dream. Our interest, however, is that the dream came “that night”; it was a timely dream specifically addressing the matter over which the prophet had erred the day before. The timeliness of the dream also stressed its strategic nature and its spiritual and divine origin.
That dream could have come a month before David sought the prophet’s counsel, or a year after that; but it came “that night.”
In 1 Kings 3: 4-5, Solomon had gone to Gibeon to make a sacrifice of “a thousand burnt offerings” to God. While he was still there, before he had returned home, he had a dream. On this occasion the Bible does not say “that night,” but it is implied. What we have is something that could read, “in that place…” rather than “that night.”
4 And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there… 5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night… (1 Kings 3:4-5).
The scriptures could simply have said, as in the case of Nathan, that “the LORD appeared to Solomon that night,” but it opens up the account better by elaborating that it was “in a dream that night.” That shows that even when the Scripture merely says “that night” we could understand it, as here, to mean “in a dream THAT NIGHT.”
One last case to cite, with respect to timed dreams; dreams coinciding with current experience, is the case of the prophet Balaam. That prophet had received guests from King Balak, who wanted him to use his prophetic powers to curse the king’s perceived enemies, the Israelites, but “God came to Balam at night” warning him against Balak’s seductions (Numbers 22:12, 20). The dream was not a day or two earlier or later. It could have been dismissed; it was prophetically timely.
Some dreams might be mere metaphysical recreations, but a dream that comes “that night”; a dream coinciding with, and specifically naming persons and issues, might not be a mere dream. It could be the voice of God.
From The Preacher’s diary.