I was challenged by this short (3:25) video from The Bible Project about the Hebrew word “shema” which means to “pay attention” or “focus”. Shema also carries with it the notion of responding to what you hear.
Asking God to shema is asking God to act or to do something. As in Psalm 27 where David said, “[Shema], O Lord, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me.”
From God's point of view, listening is the same as keeping the covenant. That's because when God asks people to shema, he expects them to listen AND obey. In Hebrew, there is no separate word for obey; listening and doing are two sides of the same coin.