“‘Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.'” Jonah 3:9
This sounds very similar to Joel 2:14:
“‘Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve, sending you a blessing instead of this curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine to the Lord your God as before.'” Joel 2:14
Joel spoke these words to Judah and, as God’s people, they should have gotten this message. The Israelites were the ones who were supposed to have the background, the covenant, the understanding of God and His holiness. Yet, when Joel spoke to Judah, the people’s hearts were not torn and they did not repent. Joel was just one of the many prophets speaking thousands of words to God’s own people and yet they would not hear Him.
Jonah, in contrast, speaks only a few words to a pagan city: “‘Forty days from now Ninevah will be destroyed!'” Jonah 3:4b. With only eight words, these people got it! From the king down, all of the Ninevites understood, repented, and were saved.
I wonder how many us, who call ourselves Christians, are not really hearing what God is telling us. How many times does God speak to me and His words simply fall on deaf ears. I wonder what God continues to try to get me to repent from and I continue on the same path as before, possibly sending myself toward destruction. How is God being patient with me right now, waiting for me to respond.
I also wonder how many people around the world, who do not know Jesus, are receptive to hearing the bad news, only to ask themselves “who knows??” then make themselves ready to hear the Good News.
Who can tell? Probably not me, I have some listening I need to take care of.