When you look through scriptures you will find several reasons God gave visions to the people that he gave them to. In most cases, if not all, the visions were to serve several generations. While the receiver of the vision benefited from the vision, it was more about the people and not the receiver of the vision. When the people of God were in need, he gave a vision to someone in order to meet the need. When the people of God were in trouble, he gave a vision to someone to deliver them from the trouble. So there is always a reason for the vision God has given to you.
Let’s take a look at some people in scriptures that received visions from God and the purpose of their visions. This will open our eyes to understand why God gives people visions.
- Faith – When God wanted to teach people about having faith in him, he gave a vision to Abraham. Abraham’s life showed us what it means to have absolute dependence on God. We saw how a man trusted God to leave everything he had for something he wasn’t sure about. He left the comfort zone where he didn’t have to struggle for much to a place he didn’t even know. Through him, God has taught many generations faith and how faith in him can produce immeasurable blessings in our lives. God also showed us, through the life of Abraham, how someone can be so close to God as to negotiating with him on what he intend to do. We also saw his generosity but more importantly, the vision to Abraham was to raise a generation for God through one man and that generation is to depend on him.
- Deliverance – The children of Israel had been in captivity for more than four hundred years. They had even spent thirty extra years and they began to cry out to God. When God was going to answer their prayers, he raise a man called Moses and gave him a vision. Why didn’t God just take all of them out by the hand of an angel? He could have done that as he did with Peter who was in Prison. God usually wants his own children to be involved in what he does. That’s why he brings us into his agenda. When it was time to deliver Israel, he gave a vision to Moses. He showed him a burning bush to get his attention and when he caught his attention, he gave him the assignment. He also empowered Moses for this task which was going to make him confront Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. The most important reason for the vision was to get the children of Israel out of Egypt and lead them to the Promised Land.
- Preservation – In what seemed as if God was trying to preserve a family, he was actually activating the plans to preserve a whole generation. That’s the whole essence of the vision given to Joseph. He didn’t understand the vision that he saw initially. He didn’t know why his brothers were bowing to him but he freely shared the vision with them. We all know he was sold into slavery and sent to work in a prominent man’s house in Egypt. He got into trouble with the man’s wife and was sent to prison. From prison, he eventually got to the palace. It was when he got to the palace that the purpose of his vision was revealed. God was trying to preserve a whole generation and that’s why God had raised Joseph to go ahead of them with the wisdom that would preserve that generation. At first, it was only the immediately family of Joseph, the 11 brothers and his father that came to Egypt with him. After a while, there was a while city of Goshen! It was now several children of Israel living together under the watch of God.
- Fulfilment of a Promise – God had made a promise to take the children of Israel into the Promised Land. This had to happen and God had strategically placed Joshua and Caleb around Moses. As soon as Moses passed on, God spoke to Joshua and gave him assurances about being with him and working with him. All the visions God gave to Joshua was mainly to ensure fulfilment of the promise that the children of God would get to the Promised Land. Moses led the people of God out of Egypt and Joshua took them into the Promised Land. We also must understand that every vision God gives to us is for a purpose. In the case of Joshua, God had a promise to be fulfilled. That’s why you should understand that when God gives you a vision, it can be to fulfil a promise he already made.
- Saving the world – When God wanted to save the world he gave the vision of rain to Noah. He also gave the vision of a saviour to several prophets and finally to Mary through whom the Lord Jesus was born. God wasn’t happy with what was happening on earth and he needed to change the order of things. As a gracious and merciful God, he told the world through Noah about what was going to happen. He gave them a chance to repent and allowed them to make it into the saving boat. Most people refused to yield and go into the saving boat. The essence of the vision given to Noah was clear. The essence of the vision given to all the prophets about Jesus and to Mary was clear. God wanted to save the whole world. In order to save the world after Jesus had done the major work, God keeps raising preachers, evangelists, prophets, teachers and the others. Their main work is to keep bringing more people into the kingdom of God.
- Church and leadership – God had a plan to raise leaders and to establish a church after the departure of Jesus. For this to happen, he raised Peter, the rock, as a leader. Some events had happened that seemed ordinary but they were all part of God’s plans to raise Peter. At some point while Jesus was speaking to the disciples, he asked about the people’s opinion of him. It wasn’t because he was really interested in what they thought about him. After asking them who the people thought he was, he moved on to ask them who they thought he really was. The answer from Peter then made him to pronounce he would build his church on this rock.
- Leadership – The need for leadership is another reason God gives a vision. But the ultimate purpose of that leadership is for the leader to lead the people back to God. God always wants a personal relationship with his people and we saw through scriptures that he kept appointing people to keep open the line of communication between him and the people. At some point, Israel got it wrong and didn’t want that leadership from an invisible God. They wanted a king and a leader they could see and talk to. They demanded a king and for the purpose of leadership, God gave a vision to Samuel, the prophet at the time. While God was revealing a vision to the prophet, I believe he was also deliberately orchestrating the events that would push the appointee, Saul, to the place of ordination. So when God wants leadership instituted, he sends a vision.
For any vision to be executed, it is very important for the receiver of the vision to understand the mind of God and run with the mind of God. When a visionary decides to run with a vision without trying to understand the essence of the vision, the vision may be personalized and also trivialized. What then happens is that a man begins to run with a vision while keeping in mind that the vision is simply to prosper him and his family. Every vision is always beyond the carrier of the vision in the agenda of God. Whatever your vision is, it is simply a link in the chain of God’s agenda. The vision didn’t start with you and it will not end with you. More importantly, as we saw in the case of Saul and David, when a visionary messes up, God always has a replacement ready to carry on the vision because nothing can stop his agenda.