God’s unfailing love is a constant theme woven through the Bible. The book of Psalms abounds with occasions of thanksgiving and praise for the Lord’s faithful love: “Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds” (Psalm 36:5, NLT; see also Psalms 13:5; 17:7; 31:16; 107:1; 136:1).
One of the most astonishing examples of unfailing love in the Bible is presented in the book of Hosea. God commands the prophet Hosea to marry a woman named Gomer, who is likely a prostitute and would prove to be an unfaithful wife. Gomer’s infidelity paints a vivid picture of Israel’s disloyalty to the Lord in worshiping other gods. God uses the marriage illustration to teach about His righteous anger regarding Israel’s sin of abandonment and spiritual adultery, while never ceasing to invite Israel to return to Him so that He may love her again. Hosea’s relentless love and faithfulness to his wife are a stunning portrait of God’s unfailing love for His people.
At one point, while Gomer is on her own and probably living as a slave, Hosea buys her back with 15 shekels of silver and a quantity of barley. The incident reflects the posture of Jesus Christ when He forgives, restores, and offers a new life of freedom to the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1–11). Hosea also foreshadows how Jesus Christ would one day redeem a sinful world by paying the price with His own death on the cross. The prophetic book assures us of God’s unconditional, unfailing love.
The book of Ruth contains another stunning example of unfailing love in Scripture. The story involves a family from Judah—Naomi, her husband, Elimelek, and their two sons. To escape a famine, they move to the foreign land of Moab. But after Elimelek and Naomi’s two sons die, Naomi decides to return to Judah. Instead of going home to her own family, Ruth, one of Naomi’s Moabite daughters-in-law, refuses to leave her mother-in-law alone and penniless. Together they return to Judah, where Ruth finds work gleaning grain in the barley fields of Boaz. When Ruth tells Naomi about Boaz, the older widow is overcome with gladness and blesses the Lord for His kindness (Ruth 2:20). Boaz is their family redeemer, the man who will rescue them from poverty and provide an heir for Elimelek’s family.
Ruth’s selfless loyalty to Naomi is an example of the Lord’s compassion and faithfulness to keep His covenant promises: “Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands” (Deuteronomy 7: 9, NLT). Boaz’s role as kinsman-redeemer exemplifies the steadfast love of God, which is revealed to us through salvation in Jesus Christ.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32) presents another moving illustration of our heavenly Father’s unfailing love for His wayward children. The story tells of a father and his two sons. The younger son asks to be given his share of the family estate as an early inheritance. With money in hand, he sets out on a wild adventure in a distant land. Soon he has spent everything. When a famine strikes, he finds a job feeding pigs. The Bible says he is so destitute that he longs to eat the slop assigned to the pigs. Finally, he comes to senses. He remembers his father and decides to return home and humbly ask for forgiveness and mercy. When he does, he finds his father waiting: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (verse 20).
Joy, love, and tender compassion filled the father’s heart at seeing his son return home. Immediately, the father throws a party in celebration. All is forgiven. This father is a brilliant picture of our joy-filled Father in heaven when one sinner repents (Luke 15:7, 10). He waits patiently for lost sinners; He pours out His unfailing love and compassion on them when they return home.
Romans 8:38–39 reminds us “that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NLT). His love is absolutely unfailing: “How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings” (Psalm 36:7, NLT).
The supreme example of God’s unfailing love was to send Jesus Christ to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). His love covers all our sins and reconciles us to Him (John 1:19; Hebrews 9:26–28; 2 Peter 1:4). The entire Bible expresses the unfailing love of God. The Lord is faithful, even when we’re not. He’s the prophet who buys back His wayward wife; He’s the Father who patiently waits for His lost child and welcomes home the prodigal son with joy; He is the faithful companion and our Kinsman Redeemer. Since the beginning of time, undeserving sinners, prone to wandering and wickedness, have been the objects of His grace, ever-renewing mercy, and unfailing love.