This is a continuation from my last blog #24 How do you know if you’ve heard God’s voice? So if you haven’t read that blog – please stop reading this one and go read that one first. Now, the question – what to do with what you’ve heard from God?


There is always a response required to whatever God has spoken to us. The Israelites didn’t have a separate word for listen and obey; they have just one – Shema. The Bible Project have a great little video (and series) on this, so please check it out.

Shema is the Hebrew word for listen and do. It’s a key part of the Jewish morning and evening prayer services. We can find it in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts” [v4-6]

Here are the questions we should ask ourselves so that we can Shema the best.

Who is it for?

    1. Is it for us personally?
    2. Someone specific
    3. A group of people

If what you heard from God was for you.

Here’s what I’d recommend you do next.

  1. Write it down. In your journal, or somewhere you write down all the specific words you receive from God. Mostly so you can accurately remember it later – let’s face it, our brains can get fuzzy with information over time. So you can go back over them at regular points in your life to see what theme’s God has been sharing or remind you of things you have heard God say. (E.g. when times are tough and you need a personal reminder of who God is or who you are in Christ).
  1. It may simply be that our response is to praise and worship God. In that moment–who He is as our LORD God. To thank him for what he’s revealed to us about himself.
  1. Ask God more questions about it. God loves it when we want to know more. To understand more clearly or just go to a greater depth in our relationship with him. Please don’t be afraid of asking God questions. He won’t see it as questioning his authority (he’s very secure in who he is). But do have an attitude and heart as to why your asking questions. Do you want to learn more, or are you really just trying to have an argument in a passive-aggressive way because you don’t want to do what he’s asking of you. (Don’t be a Jonah).
  1. Talk with other spiritually wise people. It’s great to bring harder or more serious things to others and ask them to help you process. I’ve done this many, many times, especially if it requires an action that has significant consequences. For example, leaving Scotland and going back into missions. It’s good to get wise counsel before you quit your job. Also, be open to hearing the more challenging questions or constructive feedback they give you. It will help you grow and learn – they are wise and we need to listen, even when it’s hard. Remember, they want the best for you.
  1. Think about how you need to apply it to your life. (This will depend on what kind of ‘thing’ you heard from God.)
    1. A word of encouragement, e.g. “I love you, well done…” I hear this type quite regularly from God. They are precious words that make my heart feel loved and appreciated. I write these down in my journal. I carry them around in my heart and mind throughout the day. It’s good to know how much I’m loved and how our heavenly Father is pleased with my efforts. The only thing you have to do in response is to accept it into your heart and spirit. It’s the truth and some of us need to hear it many, many times before we start to believe it at our core.
    1. Insight or understanding into a situation. If it’s a verse, word of wisdom, idea of how to handle a situation that you’ve been talking to God about – great. Continue to ask God how to apply it to the situation. Get that wise counsel or discuss it with a leader who knows about the situation. Sometimes the best thing God can do for me is to help me see a person’s situation from God’s perspective. So I have a better understanding of the person, I have God’s compassion and a bigger picture. Then I can respond with God and do what he’s asking of me with his heart attitude.
    1. An exhortation to change something in your relationship with God – like spend more time with God in prayer and reading your bible or in worship… What specific actions do you need to take in response? Do you need to stop doing something? Or change how you’re currently doing it? Or do you need to start doing something new? Commit to do it and get the help you need to achieve it. If we want to become more Christlike, we will have to change on several levels, but in God’s timing. Trust God’s ways and timing. He knows the best order to bring things up that need to be worked on. If you do it faithfully this time, then you won’t have to revisit it again in the same way. (Trust me, it’s a good thing, but there are many layers just like an onion).
    1. A revelation that you need to stop doing something. (E.g. a bad habit like swearing, not being faithful to do something you said you would do). I remember when I was in Kosovo just after the war. There are many new Christians there. Nearly all of them chain-smoked. But God wasn’t concerned about their smoking at that time – there were many other things He wanted to work and heal in them first. Personally, now that I’m physically better. I don’t need to rest so much. So God’s slowly working on helping me to create new, more fruitful habits this year. Like reading the whole bible through in a year again. So I’ve stopped watching so much Netflix and reading my bible more – my spirit loves it; therefore, I love it more now too.

When it’s for someone else

  1. Ask God when and how you should share it. Timing for them receiving it is very important. Think about your tone and body language while sharing it. Do you need to share it in person, write them a message, phone them? Or do you need to give them something, a picture, a gift, or a symbol of the word? But the way you convey the message may also be significant. I always remember a word I received from a friend when we were responding to something a speaker was sharing at a leadership conference. He got down on his knees to give me the word. Because it was to say that I am a giant in the land. (I am relatively short in height, so the best way for me to receive this message visually, was for him to become much smaller in height himself). It may also be a word that is quite personal. So is a more private space better.
  1. What kind of attitude do we need to have when sharing it? It is very wise to share it with humility. With a mixture of confidence in who God is, but also that you might be totally wrong. If what you need to share is a little weird, then start with, “I’m not sure if this is from God, so please check it out, but this is what I think God wants me to share with you….” This gives the person space and choice to make their own decision about if they think it’s all, some, part or not from God at all. If you want an example of how not to do it – the best one with the harshest consequences for me is Joseph with his brothers, you can find the story in Genesis 37.
  1. What should you do once you’ve shared what God gave you? Depending on how they’re reacting, it might be good to ask if you can pray for them. Or remind them to write it down and talk it over with God and others. For them to decide what their response should be. Then leave them with it. Your job/ task as the messenger of the word is complete. What they do with it afterwards is between them and God. They are responsible for their actions alone. But if it/ them continues to be on your mind – perhaps pray for them.

When we feel it’s for a group of people.

Depending on the context (i.e. if you’re in the middle of a prayer meeting, you could share it with the group when asked to share feedback. Or go to the person leading the meeting, share what you’ve heard. Then let them decided when and what to do with it.

You know your context the best. You know what the normal thing to do is when you’re in a group setting and how that group asks people to do with words they receive for the whole group. E.g. in a Church service, in your youth group. If you’re not sure if you’ve heard from God and don’t want to just speak up, then do go and humbly share it with your leaders. If they respond by asking you to share it with the whole group – then take a deep breath, take that step to the front and speak it out. But in the same way, you would to a single person (except look around the room a bit more, as it’s to all, not just one).

In a group setting, honour your leaders and the others in the room is highly recommended. This is my default setting. Honouring God and those present will make it easier for everyone to receive what you feel you need to share (humbly).

Is that it?

It may sound scary or straightforward. But it’s just simply – believing you have heard from God and taking the steps you need to do what He’s said. To hear and to obey – Shema. If you’re finding it hard, ask God, ask others to pray with you, to help you. The great thing about our heavenly Father is that he is always with us. Just as God promised Josua – when God told him not to be terrified but to lead the people into the promise land. So he says to us in Joshua 1:5b, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you: I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

And I leave you today with this verse:

“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” [Deuteronomy 7:9]