One of the most vivid portrayals of God's relentless love comes from Hosea. The three chapters describe God's love for his people as marital love. God loves his people like a man loves his wife. God instructs Hosea to take a harlot for a wife because the people had committed harlotry by departing from God (1:2). The children from this union received names such as "Lo Ammi," which means, "not my people." God was sending a message. The people were no longer his people because they had departed from him. Everything they had came from God. Since they left God, he would take it all away and his bride would be desolate.
What is interesting is that after all this, God tells Hosea to go and love a harlot once again. Again? Most of us would not do that. Many have the philosophy of, "Cheat on me once, shame on you. Cheat on me twice, shame on me." Many people would call a person who stayed with a spouse who has cheated more than once a fool. "I'm a fool for you!" sounds like a foolish statement to make.
Yet Hosea illustrates that this is the kind of love God has for his people. The story of the Bible is one of a relentless love. It is a story of a God who never gives up on his wayward bride.
"How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled. I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, And I will not come in wrath (Hos 11:8-12)."
I am so glad he is God and not a man. If it were left up to man, we would all be lost. Mankind is typically harder on itself than God is. God may punish the third and fourth generation, but his lovingkindness goes to the thousandth generation (Exo 34:7).
Prophetic books typically end with oracles of hope rather than oracles of doom. In the last few verses of Hosea, we find this,
"I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from them (Hos 14:4)."
Of course this has implications for how we are to be toward one another. Paul spells it out in 1 Corinthians 13. John does an exposition of it in 1 John 4. Paul wrote, "love never fails (1 Cor 13:8)." So faithfulness and love go hand in hand.