Click here to edSamuel, son of Elkanah and Hannah, was dedicated to God's service at a young age. He served at the tabernacle in Shiloh under Eli the priest (1 Sam. 1-2), ministering to the Lord. One day while Samuel was about His duties the voice of the Lord called to Him, "Samuel!" While neither Eli nor Samuel initially understood what was happening, eventually Eli realized it was the Lord calling to Samuel. After calling out to Samuel a fourth time, Samuel replied to the Lord's call, "Speak, for your servant hears" (1 Sam. 3:10). Some translation render Samuel's words as "Speak, for your servant is listening."
Samuel's response to the Lord, should be our response to the Lord. God desires to speak to us as well, regularly. It should be our constant desire to hear and listen. Of course, God speaks to us through His Word, the very words of Scripture. These are God's words to us. Whether we are reading His word or listening to it recorded or in person, God is speaking, and we are to do the hearing.
Sometimes parents will make a distinction between whether their children "hear" them and whether they are "listening" to them. When we "hear," the sounds are coming into our ears and we may even perceive what the sounds are, but it's sort of a passive experience. "Listening" is more active. It includes hearing, but also includes acting upon what is heard. If our children are listening to us, they are acting upon what they hear us saying.
It is the same with God's word. It is one thing to hear the word, to know what the words mean, to understand what is being said. It is another to listen and put God's word into practice. Samuel would show throughout his life that he not only heard the Lord but also listened to Him, carrying out God's instructions. Whenever we hear God's word, we should pray that His Spirit would give us hearts, minds, and wills to listen to Him, to actively believe what God is saying to us, and to seek to live according to His word.it.