Sackcloth, Locusts, Bison, and Drones

Two Saturday nights ago, I had a couple of dreams that I would like to share.

Bugs on the Roof

In the first one, I dreampt that I and my wife were dining and socializing with a group of people in a beautiful open-floor-plan post-and-beam house. The exterior wall of the room was mostly windows with large sliding French patio doors leading outside. The dining area had a cathedral ceiling open through the second floor all the way to the rafters except for a narrow deck right against the windows on the second story level. This deck was made of slats spaced apart from each other so that you could see right up through it.

Suddenly I looked out through the windows to notice that a herd of wild bison were milling around just outside the glass. Some of them were rubbing on the windows and doors and wall posts. Others were nibbling at the grass at the base of the wall. Several of them were laying on the ground on their sides as if dead, but as I looked closely, I could see them moving slightly, so that I knew they were still alive.

Then I looked to my right, and through the wall of glass I could see that the house was built against the side of a mountain. On the mountain slope within a stone’s throw of the house I spotted a male African lion eating a rabbit. Another creature was hanging out with the lion, but I didn’t get a good look at it before it darted out of sight behind some rocks.

I called out to the other guests and alerted them to the situation, warning them to stay inside because it would not be safe to go out. I remember hoping that none of those huge bison pushed too hard on the glass and broke through. We didn’t need a herd of bison stampeding through our dinner party!

Then one of the guests gasped and called my attention to the deck above our heads. To my surprise I saw that a dead bison was lying up there. I had no idea how he got there. The window beside him wasn’t broken and he certainly couldn’t fly, but there he was.

We all huddled together in the center of the room and hoped the house would keep us safe.

Then the dream shifted. My wife took me by the arm urgently and said she needed to show me something. Suddenly, we were on the roof of the house.

The roof was like a thatched roof, except instead of reeds, the thatching was made of burlap. Stuck with some kind of sticky substance to the center of the roof, like a bizarre chimney, was a burlap pod thing, sort of like a cocoon cut in half so that the top was open and the contents were visible.

My wife pointed to the interior of the pod. It was divided into four burlap compartments, and in each compartment was a different type of worm, bug, or caterpillar type creature. I was filled with an oppressive sense of evil and knew that we needed to kill these things and remove the pod from our roof immediately.

I had a metal gardening trowel, and my wife had a flimsy disposable plastic spoon. I laid my trowel down, took my wife’s spoon and began beating on the bugs in the pod, trying to kill them. All the while I was pleading the protection of the blood of Jesus over them.

It was a lot of work and the worms kept trying to crawl up out of the pod. Then the contents changed from bugs to plants. They were like aloe vera leaves growing up out of the compartments with their tops cut off so that I could see the toxic dangerous gel inside.

I began to pry and kick at the pod, trying to knock it off of the roof. The adhesive substance was very stubborn and resisted my efforts, but eventually I pried it loose and kicked it off of the roof. Through all that I never did use my metal trowel.

That was the end of that dream.

Before I move on to my second dream, let me insert an addendum. This came to me in a quick vignette about a week later while I was praying. I was given a vision of that burlap roof with its chimney like pod, but in a sudden flash the roof was transformed. It became a Christmas roof. The exterior of the house was now red with white trim, and the entire roof was blanketed with a beautiful thick layer of snow. The ugly pod was replaced by a brick chimney topped by snow and icicles and draped along the eaves of the roof were strands of colorful lights. Candy canes hung from the light strands.

Later that night I had a second dream.

Drones and Daybreak

In this dream, I was playing with a miniature drone. The drone was about three inches in diameter, it was white and had an LED screen mounted under it so that you display scrolling programmed messages. I was using it to share the gospel. I would fly it up to somebody, hover it in front of them and display a message like, “Jesus is Lord.”

Then the dream shifted. I was lying in bed beside my wife and it was light outside. I was lying on my side with the covers pulled over my head, except for a little hole in front of my face that I could breathe and see out of. The wall that I was facing was a set of glass French doors.

Suddenly, a big robotic looking drone dropped into view just outside those doors. It was, hovering about six feet from the ground. I had the sense that it was military or government technology. A long telephoto lens or telescope type attachment protruded from its housing. This lens seemed to be mounted on a swivel and could be electronically or remotely maneuvered to point at whatever it was looking at.

At the moment it was looking at me. Observing me. Staring at me.

I felt violated. The intimate privacy of my bedroom was being invaded by some Big Brother eye in the sky.

I watched it back as it watched me. I wasn’t sure if it knew I was watching it, shadowed as I was in the cocoon of my blankets. I frantically tried to think what to do about it. I considered flying my little drone up to it with the message, “Go away and stop watching us!” But somehow I knew that the big drone was armed and would blast my little drone into smoking debris.

Then I considered grabbing my baseball bat, running outside and knocking the drone out of the air. Yet, even as I thought it, I knew the hovering device would see me coming and that the people controlling the drone, watching through that prominent lens, would know what I had done and bring some sort of nasty retribution to bear.

Just about then, the lens on the drone pivoted away from me to focus on something that it seemed to have spotted in the doorway of my bedroom which was located past the foot of my bed.

As if startled, the drone dashed sideways to half conceal itself beyond the frame of the French doorway. Only the top of the drone and the lens were now visible from my perspective, tilted into view like a timid child peeking around a corner. It remained like that for a few seconds and then zipped upwards and was gone.

I leaped out of bed and ran outside to see if I could see where it was going. I searched to my right…the direction in which it had sped off…but it was not to be seen.

As I turned away, I looked to my left and was alarmed to see coming over the horizon in that direction, an ominous bank of dark clouds shot through with glowing red lava-like veins. It was rolling my direction and moving fast.

The composition and color of the clouds reminded me of how Chedorlaomer looked in the dream I described in my post, Cleansing Alaska’s Heart.

I spun around and ran back inside the house. The bedroom was empty. I ran through the bedroom door that the drone had shifted its attention to earlier, and out into a living room or parlor area which I found full of guests.

I began to shout a warning to the guests. “There is a very dangerous storm approaching!”

The guests seemed completely unconcerned.

“No there isn’t.” one of them replied.

“Yes there is!” I insisted.

“No. There isn’t. Look for yourself.”

I turned toward a window in the room that faced the direction of the approaching storm, and to my utter amazement saw that where the storm had been brewing, there remained only the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen.

There the dream ended.


As seems to be my usual pattern, these dreams were rather layered and complex. There are a number of symbolic elements concerning which I don’t yet have clarity, but let’s unpack some that I do understand. Before we get started, though, remember that a series of dreams on the same night often have a common theme.

The Houses

The Houses in my dreams represented security and fellowship. They were both places of refuge where I expected to be safe. They also both included a group of friends gathered for food and fellowship. I feel like the first house at least represented the body of overcoming Christians…the true ekklesia.

The Bison

Bison are a quintessentially American beast. In my dream the bison were wild and displaced from their normal feeding ground. They represent the throngs of Americans who are perplexed because their routine has been disrupted and their source of food, or truth has been disturbed.

In prayer, God showed me that Joel Chapters 1 and 2 were the key to interpreting my first dream. In Joel 1:18-20 we read,

18 How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
19 O Lord, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
20 The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

This is the position of much of America today. Some who have responded to God’s call have entered His dining room, sat at His table and are under God’s protection. However, outside, the wild beasts and the herds of cattle mill about restlessly looking for stability, truth, and nourishment. Some of them lay ill and dying.

After a year of 2020, does it seem like America has been stripped of its productivity? Robbed of its contentment? Deprived of its ability to feed itself?

The Lion

Meanwhile, close enough to be part of the herd, a lion consumed a rabbit. Rabbits are timid animals at the bottom of the food chain. The lion wasn’t eating bison yet, but it was only a matter of time. Especially with several of the great beasts laying on the ground listless and almost lifeless.

Joel 1, verses 5-7 proclaims:

Awake, ye drunkards, and weep; and howl, all ye drinkers of wine, because of the new wine; for it is cut off from your mouth.
For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.
He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white.

Here in Joel a “northern army” had ravaged the land of its crops and living plants. There is an eerie similarity between Joel Chapter 1 and Matthew ch 13. In both cases, it is the Word of God that is stripped from the land.

The bison are like drunkards who have been deprived of their new wine…like cattle whose pasture has dried up. The word of God is sparse and they have wandered in search of it. Now they are surrounding the house of those who have food, looking for a morsel to satisfy their hunger.

Meanwhile the enemy who stripped their land circles closer for the kill.

The Dead Bison Upstairs

But who is this mysterious bison lying dead on the deck above our heads? How did it get there? What is it doing up there?

In keeping with the symbolism so far, I have to conclude that this bison represent one of the wild beasts who who are devoid of God’s Word. Yet here he is in our house, and the fact that he is upstairs suggests symbolically that he is over us or above us in authority.

Do we know anyone in authority in America that seems to be devoid of God’s word? An incongruous figure who shouldn’t be there by any rules of logic and protocol? Artificially placed there by fraud, perhaps? Someone who isn’t accomplishing anything of value, nor contributing to the safety and nourishment of the household? I will let your mind ponder that one.

The Burlap Roof

Now let’s move to the roof. A roof represents a covering, protection from inclement weather.

It also represents headship. The roof of a house is its highest point, and the part most exposed to the sun. So it makes sense that in the Bible, “roof” represents the part that is closest and most in contact with the Lord. In fact, in Bible times, the roof of a house was flat and was used as a place where a house’s occupants would retire to walk in order to exercise, pray, or meditate.

I Corinthians 3:10 tells us “Ye are God’s building.” So if we are God’s building what is our roof? Our head, of course. A head is a symbol of authority. Where do we as Christians find our authority? To answer that question let’s switch analogies.

In Ephesians 6, Paul lists the armor of God. What piece of armor covers the head? The helmet of Salvation, of course. In I Thessalonians 5:8, Paul words it a bit differently. He defines the spiritual helmet as the “hope of salvation”.

We know that the name “Jesus” or “Yeshua” literally means “Salvation”. Salvation isn’t just the mystic event where we are born again and are translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Unfortunately, Christianese lingo often limits the Biblical meaning of salvation to “getting saved.” This prevents us from appreciating the broad and breathtaking implication of the word.

Salvation simply means deliverance. It means rescue. A fireman saving a child from a burning building is salvation. A surgeon removing a malignant tumor is salvation. A friend giving you a thousand dollars to help you avoid bankruptcy is salvation.

So when we say the name “Jesus”, we are speaking His identity. He is, by nature, the one who intervenes in any circumstance which moves us out of a position of victory, peace, provision and equilibrium into a situation of defeat, fear, lack, bondage, or dysfunction. That includes salvation from sin, of course, but if we limit it to sin only, without including sickness, poverty, failed relationships, addictions or suchlike we fail to appreciate the mission, character and very essence of who Jesus Christ is. We diminish the love with which He loved us. We spurn the mission for which Father sent him to be conceived in the womb of a Judean peasant girl.

That being said, if our roof or helmet is the hope of Salvation, then that means we trust our Savior for deliverance from any situation that produces the opposite of hope…the opposite of Salvation. That includes the situation in which American Christians find themselves today. That includes the situation in which you find yourself if you are struggling, unfulfilled, broken, or lost.

The bison outside were hopeless. Under the roof we can expect hope. We can hope in He who is our Salvation.

Yet in my dream I discovered that the roof was covered in burlap. What is burlap? Ever hear of a burlap sack? Burlap is sackcloth. Where have we heard sackcloth discussed?

In Bible times sackcloth was a sign of mourning. People wore sackcloth to publicly indicate their grief. Once again we find this symbol mentioned in Joel. Chapter 1 verses 8-14 tells the hungry restless bison to:

Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband of her youth.
The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the Lord; the priests, the Lord's ministers, mourn.
10 The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.
11 Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley; because the harvest of the field is perished.
12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.
13 Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests: howl, ye ministers of the altar: come, lie all night in sackcloth, ye ministers of my God: for the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God.
14 Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord,

Here, in Joel’s day, even the religious types were not eating of God’s word. They were not finding hope in their delivering God.

The fact that sackcloth covers the roof of the house in my dream suggests that we Christian types should not get comfortable with our status as priests and ministers of God. It’s time to take a hard look at ourselves. Who are we trusting in? Our traditions? Our status? Our history? Our human leaders? Our own wisdom? Is this why our land is being decimated right now? Is this why spiritual sustenance is hard to find? We must repent and look again to our God who is the only hope of deliverance.

The Pod of Bugs

Now we come to the most fascinating piece of symbolism in the entire dream. I must confess that I was stumped on this one. What is the deal with four sackcloth chambers in a single cocoon-like pod, stuck to this roof? Why are they full of four kinds of bugs?

But after God directed me to Joel, I didn’t have to read very far before the “AHA!” light came on. Joel 1:4 leaped off of the page and did a polka dance in my heart.

That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpiller eaten.

There they were. At least three of the chambers of that pod had contained worm-like creatures. Now I knew their names. Palmerworm. Cankerworm. Caterpillar. And the fourth chamber contained the full-grown adult locust.

These were the pests that had devastated the countryside, destroying the bison pastures…Joel’s fierce army from the north that devoured every green thing!

By neglecting God’s Word, our nation and our world has been bereaved of our hope of Salvation.

The Utensils

In my dream, I sensed the danger and evil that the pod represented and tried to defeat it…with a plastic spoon. I completely ignored the gardening trowel. What an idiot!

A spoon is something you eat with. Remember that food was the problem. The locust had eaten our food, starving the Bison and leaving us in this precarious situation. So according to human wisdom it makes sense to try to whip out the old spoon to remedy the situation, right?


A spoon is only useful when there is something to put on it and transfer into ones’ mouth.

Furthermore, the spoon was made of plastic. What is plastic? Basically processed hydrocarbons. What are hydrocarbons? Old dead animals. Dinosaurs and marine organisms that have been crushed in the lower parts of the earth. Sounds like an appetizer of obsolete extinction, followed by an entree of death and destruction, topped off with a dessert of Hell and the grave.

Yet how often do we attempt to fix our societal problems and our moral bankruptcy with dead traditions and protocols, dry withered theology, or even crude black sticky oblations procured in compromises with Hell itself?

Meanwhile, the gardening trowel lays neglected by my side. Like I pointed out above, if there is no food, a spoon is worthless.

If there is no food, a gardening trowel is the only answer. New crops must be planted. New food cultivated. Duh!

To my credit, I was pleading the blood of Jesus the whole time I whacked on the worms with my spoon. Thank God that he saves us in spite of our ignorance and foolishness, because it is He that saves. Not our feeble efforts.

The Aloe Vera

Then the worms turned into aloe vera.

I am aware that the aloes mentioned in scripture are resins from a tree and not the household plant that we rub on our burnt knuckles. However, this is symbolism, so I went to the Bible to research aloe.

It turns out that aloes in Bible times were precious medicinal and fragrant ingredients used for perfuming beds and clothing or for covering up the stench of decay when embalming the dead. Aloes are associated with love and romance in such passages and Psalm 45:8 or Song of Solomon 4:14.

But just as aloes can be used to perfume the beds of true lovers, Proverbs 7:17 describes the harlot who perfumes her bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon in order to entice the unwitting into her bed of destruction.

The aloes in my dream were definitely not the good kind. They were the aloes of harlotry used to mask the stench of death.

This sounds a lot like the work of the great Harlot of Babylon. She poses as a friend. She uses religion as her snare. Her trappings are ecclesiastical, but inwardly she is full of abominations and of all of the blood of the innocent that has been spilled in the name of God, or under cover of her aloe perfume.

In our world and in our nation we are seeing the great face-off between the Bride of Christ, the New Jerusalem, and the harlot Babylonian system. We mourn, covering ourselves with sackcloth because of the devastation we see around us. We lament the disintegration of our culture and our values, but what is this on our roof? Where the hope of our salvation, Jesus Christ, should be covering us in a position of authority, have we been seduced by Jezebel? The worms and the locust will continue to ravage our land until we, the house of God, sanctify ourselves, call a solemn assembly, and cry unto to Lord.

And for God’s sake, get out your trowel and pry that thing off of your roof so that we can have hope again!

The Drones

In the second dream, my little drone was kind of like the plastic spoon of the first dream; too little, too late, and misdirected. I was trying to solve the problem in my own feeble human strength, wielding dead words in a battle where I should have been skilled in the use of the sharp, powerful, double-edged Rhema of God.

The big spy drone represented Joel’s army of locusts with lion’s teeth. Oppressive. Invasive. Controlling. Tyrannical. Merciless. Robbing us of the Word of God. Raping our land. Leaving us weak, hungry, fear-stricken, and dying.

But something happened. The drone looked past me where I lay sleeping. Something it saw in the other room scared the chips out of that drone.

Later, what I found in that room was a group of friends who were feasting together unafraid under the protection of a sound roof of Salvation. They weren’t worried. They had hope.

But I didn’t know that yet. Although I saw the drone flee, I didn’t get it. I saw storm clouds on the horizon. I feared impending doom. Disaster.

A Different Perspective

So like Henny Penny, I ran back into the house with my hair on fire screaming “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

But as it turns out I was looking at circumstances with fleshly eyes. My guests, however, had the eyes of faith. They saw reality from God’s perspective. Patiently, they redirected my attention until I was able to realize that what seemed like the end of the world as we know it, was actually the dawning of a new day. The future is before us and it is glorious because our Savior has conquered sin, Hell, and the grave.

That’s what Joel 2 is all about. Verses 18-32 tell us how the story ends:

18 Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity his people.
19 Yea, the Lord will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:
20 But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.
21 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things.
22 Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.
23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.
27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.

Hallelujah! If that doesn’t make you you come up off of our chair, you must be a bison.

Christmas is Coming

So let me close with the addendum that God added to my first dream.

The sackcloth was covered with snow. In Scripture, snow represents cleansing and purity.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:
It shall not return to me void,
But it shall accomplish that which I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. - Isaiah 55:10,11

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool. - Isaiah 1:18

Christmas, of course is about the arrival of our Savior. In the fullness of time, God sent his sinless son to deliver us from locusts and harlots and drones and Chedorlaomer.

The dark storm clouds are yielding to a glorious dawn.

Where once the roof was draped with sackcloth, the symbol of mourning, it is now draped with colorful lights, the symbol of joyful celebration.

And hanging from those lights are candy canes.

The hard candy reminds us that Jesus is our rock. — Psalm 61:2

The cane shape reminds us of a shepherd’s staff and the shepherds that came to worship Jesus. It also reminds us of how Jesus came into the world to be a shepherd of his people. — Luke 2:8-15 and John 10:11

The upside-down candy cane forms the letter “J” and reminds us of the name of Jesus which means “God saves.” — Matthew 1:21

The peppermint flavor reminds us of the gift of spices from the Wise Men. — Matthew 2:11

The white candy reminds us of purity and holiness. It recalls the virgin birth of Christ, the sinless life of Christ and the holy life that Jesus wants his people to live. — Matthew 1:23 and 1 Peter 1:15

The color red reminds us that Jesus became a real flesh and blood man and spilled his blood to save his people. — Hebrews 2:14

The stripes remind us of the lashes Jesus received when he suffered for us and ultimately bore our sins that we might be healed. — 1 Peter 2:24-25

It’s time to celebrate. Proclaim the glad tidings of great joy. This day a Savior has arrived who is the anointed deliverer! Morning has broken! The drone has fled and the harvest is restored.

Now throw away your plastic spoon of dead religious works and break out the trowel. Let’s get the Word seeded in this land again.

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