Recently, while listening to a sermon from chapter three of 1 Samuel, the favored story of Samuel hearing the call of God, it struck me that there is a difference between hearing God and listening to God.
I wondered, how well do I listen to God or do I just merely hear Him as blah, blah, blah, blah?
Some days, we can go through our morning devotions in rote-fashion without really listening to what God wants us to hear from Him.
I desire to be more like Samuel…And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Then the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”(1 Samuel 3;9-10)
Speak for your servant is listening.
First, for someone to speak with you—you must be in a relationship.
Secondly, you must have a servant type attitude. Know your place before God.
Thirdly, have an open ear to hear what God is saying to you and really listen to Him.
Lastly, act on what you hear from God.
The distinction between listening and hearing is—Hearing is always occurring, most of the time subconsciously and in the case of hearing the indwelling fragment of God it always occurs in the superconsciousness.
In contrast, listening is the interpretative action taken by the listener.(1)
Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. If you are not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do. Listening requires concentration and action.
We measure everything we hear. The Word of God responds to my measuring device. Mark 4:24 says, “The way ‘you’ hear it, the way ‘you’ measure and respond to it is the measure that it works in your life.(2) God is not measuring this for you. The man got 30 fold because that is what he heard and responded to. Another man got 60 because that is what he heard and responded to. A 30 fold mentalities never excel to 100 fold opportunities. But we must remember that apart from Him we can do nothing. We must stay connected to the vine, because it is the vine that produces the power not the branches. (John 15)
This is why it is important to meet with God in the quiet place of His presence and listen for His still small voice. If you listen to what He tells you in the darkness, then speak it in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. (Matthew 10:27)
Hear from Him in the quiet place before you take it to the streets.
You go where you’re sent
And you stay where you’re put,
and you give what you’ve got until you’re done.
~ Jill Briscoe
Journeying with Him,
(1) Kemp, Paul. Quora. N.p., 18 Apr. 2016. Web. <https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-listening-to-and-hearing-the-word-of-God>.
(2) Pastor Jerry Edmon, Family Worship Center, Elgin, TX