The 20 Verses You Love Most: #20 Unfailing Mercy

The 20 Verses You Love Most | Liz Curtis Higgs

After tallying nearly 1,000 of your favorite verses, we have a Top 20 list that may surprise you. It includes 11 verses from the Old Testament, and 9 from the New, with 4 verses from a certain OT book (not Psalms), and another 4 from a particular NT book (not John).

By summer’s end we’ll reach your # 1 choice, at which point I’ll gladly post them all. This week, we’ll consider # 20, which often stretches in both directions to capture an even bigger picture:

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; 
great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

It’s the middle one, verse 22, that you loved most: the Source of our hope, the Source of our strength, all wrapped up in “God’s loyal love” (MSG).

Among last week’s comments, our sister, Jodie, shared what this passage has meant to her:

“During the most challenging season in our faith, as I battled in prayer for my husband’s life to be spared and for our 3 little boys to be able to grow up with their daddy, I clung to Lamentations 3:22-23. His love was unfailing in its grip on us, His mercies were literally new every. single. morning. as my husband experienced the Healer’s touch over the 16 days he was in a coma and the 16 more that it took to leave the hospital, and His faithfulness was {and is} GREAT as He continues to use that difficult season for HIS glory and our good!!”

Such a testimony to God’s faithfulness. Let’s unpack this week’s verse and discover what Jodie already knows.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. Lamentations 3:22

Suitcases to Unpack

Because of…

Why do we have hope? “It is because of” (NLV) God and it is “through” (NKJV) God. We can’t survive apart from him. We might breathe, eat, sleep, work, but we can’t live without him.

Those of us who have tried and failed know it is only because of God that we’re still here. And “it is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus…” (1 Corinthians 1:30).

With God, why and who lead to the same answer.

…the Lord’s…

It s “Jehovah’s” (ASV), yet he is willing to share it with us. It’s “God’s” (VOICE), yet he generously gives it away. It’s the one thing we need, yet can’t bring ourselves to ask for. It’s the free gift “of Adonai” (CJB), yet bought with a price.

What is it? You know.

In the Father's Hand

…great love…

The beautiful Hebrew word hesed is also translated “lovingkindnesses” (ASV), “faithful love” (CEB), “steadfast love” (ESV), “unfailing love” (GNT).

We use the word love so freely. We love our cars, our pets, a funny video we saw on YouTube.

Hesed is another kind of love altogether. It’s how God defines and demonstrates love to his people.

When he faithfully blesses those who’ve done nothing to deserve it, that’s hesed. When he fulfills a promise that costs him dearly, that’s hesed. When his Son hung on the cross for our sins, that was hesed in its fullest expression.

How wide and long and high and deep are “the kindnesses of Jehovah!” (YLT)


I know, silly to pause for such a little word, especially when it’s always translated the same way. Just we. Still, it’s worth asking who we might be.

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life,…” (John 3:36). That’s we. The ones who have faith in Jesus. The ones on whom God is merciful. John’s words continue, “…but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (John 3:36).

Oh dear. We didn’t choose any favorite verses about God’s wrath, though there are 180+ mentions of it in Scripture. We’d much rather hear about God’s lovingkindness, his hesed—and I’d much rather write about it too!

So, it seems, would God, especially when he is speaking to his people. This series of hope-filled verses are included in the book of Lamentations, which mourns the destruction of the first Holy Temple and the exile of the Jewish nation. In the midst of grief, God’s love prevails. In the midst of sorrow, joy.

For we who trust in the mercy of God, he offers good news.

…are not consumed,…

There’s something almost frightening about the word consumed. Like a great monster grinding us between its teeth. Without God’s love, we would be “wiped out” (GW), “completely destroyed” (NIRV), “extinguished” (KNOX).

Fiery Dragon

But we are not consumed, God’s Word assures us. We are “still alive” (ERV).


We’ve come full circle, back to “because” (ASV). To why. To who. To God, most “certainly” (CEB).

Could the whole of the Bible be summed up in the words, God’s love?

…his compassions…

They are plural, multiple. Not a one time thing, but an endless outpouring, for which I am beyond grateful.

Every time I go to the Lord, begging his forgiveness for the same failings, the same stupidities, the same sins. I almost hold my breath, fearing he might whisper, Enough, Liz. I don’t want to hear it.

But that’s not what he says. Not the God of hesed. “His mercies” (ESV), “his commiserations” (DRA), “his merciful doings” (WYC) flow over me like living water. Flow over you, beloved. Flow over us, over we.

God saved the best, the most encouraging words for last.

Water Fountain

…never fail.

Those mercies, that fountain of grace, will “never stop” (NCV), “never end” (NET), “never cease” (NLT). Never is a word that leaves no room for discussion. No room for fear either. God’s lovingkindness is “never limited” (GW) and he is “never weary” (KNOX).

God keeps reminding us of this, hoping we will finally grasp it: “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8).

This day, this morning, when his mercies are new once again, may this truth wash over you afresh: you are loved.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. Lamentations 3:22

Now it’s your turn

If you’ve ever clung to the truth of this verse during a time when you sorely needed God’s compassion, perhaps you might share what you learned through the process. Simply add your thoughts under Post a Comment at the bottom…and bless you for doing so.

Next week, we move to the New Testament for # 19. It’s a red-letter verse, a question posed by Jesus. Please join us. And bring a friend.

Your sister, Liz

43 Responses to The 20 Verses You Love Most: #20 Unfailing Mercy

  1. terri chapman April 10, 2013 at 8:18 am #

    He always provides, and most beautifully in the midst of the storm…seems that when my heart is intentionally focused on Him, while everything around me spins, I clearly see His concern and provision…

    • Kay April 14, 2013 at 8:52 am #

      My favorite hymn has always been “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and I so love the words of this verse in Lamentations. It was also my husband’s favorite hymn. He went to be with the Lord 3 years ago after a 16 month battle with cancer. During and since that time the Lord has proven His faithfulness over and over again. I’m so thankful for His steadfast love.

      • Tammie June 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

        A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease. It took several months for me to receive a diagnosis. Many trials surrounded me and my loved ones during that time, but I was not “consumed” because I had hope in Him…no matter which path the journey took…After a bone-marrow transplant, God healed me beyond the drs. hopes! Glory to God! I’m thankful for His love, compassion, and strength every single moment.

  2. Christi April 10, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    I actually “discovered” these verses during a season of life in which God was using some of the great hymns to speak to me. I was looking at the Scripture and the stories behind some of the hymns — and it was a precious time. I looked at “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and found Lamentations. It was probably the first time I had camped out in this book. I’m so glad that God took me there in a simple season, because later, in a very bitter season, I desperately needed the whole of this chapter. I’m sure later in this series we’ll get to a “rest” verse or two. But what I learned from Lamentations 3, through a time of serious struggles in my marriage, is “hope.” There were no promises here that I would ever have the marriage I desired, but an encouragement to hope because God’s mercy would be sufficient — and fresh and new each morning. I do love this verse – more than any youtube video and maybe even more than my cat!

  3. Angela Jones April 10, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    Lamentations 3:22 comforts me always, but it was especially encouraging when I was turning back from a time of full backsliddenness. I had made a decision completely out if the clear will of God and the enemy was relishing and taking full advantage of my utter despair. This verse says clearly that my God’s mercies are NEW every morning. Once I kicked the enemy in his teeth and instead listened to the Lord’s voice in this, I was able to turn back to Him for that every day, new mercy! Praise Hus holy name! 🙂

  4. Betsy C. April 10, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    Never fail! God is always compassionate. I’m so grateful that his mercies are new every morning (my favorite part of these verses); a clean slate, a new day to start afresh with a forgiven heart and a willing attitude.

    • naomi May 15, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

      me 2 betsy!!!!its such a blessing

  5. Robyn @ a bird in the Father's hand April 10, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    In a culture where love means lust and life means worthless, I cling to His *hesed* and hope for something more. I find that if I allow His love to consume me, the rest of the world (and my enemy) cannot. I’m so thankful for this Scripture. I’m going to write it and put it up on my wall! Love you, Lizzie. Thank you for this Bible Study.

    • Susan Ireland April 29, 2013 at 12:10 am #

      Wow you have written something so deep Robyn I know it reaches many – God bless you !!

  6. Linda H April 10, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    I am so thankful for this verse that reminds me daily the Lord will never wash His hands of me. Even when I want to give up on myself for my failures, (which plagues me daily) this verse picks me up and points me to His compassion. What an amazing love!!! I can start over each day no matter what has happened in the past or will be in the future. His love never fails, never give up, never runs out on me.

  7. Christina Anderson April 10, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    God showed me His great mercy and compassion and foregiveness when I had four strokes in 2003. I had been living a life of sin. I knew better than the things I was doing, and I reasoned that God didn’t care about me anyway. He really got my attention by letting me have those four strokes and then in raising me up to be at about 90% of what I was before them. He also forgave me when I confessed my horrible sins and restored me to His loving presence, from which I had been fleeing for years!

  8. Tina W. April 10, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    As I was reading and thinking about new mercies every morning I got a visual….of a big chalkboard with all my mistakes (sins!) written on it for the day….then God erases every single one and I have a “clean slate” to start each day. Praise the Lord for His great love and His compassions that are new every morning. Thanks Christi for reminding us of that hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. I’m going to be singing it all day! And as always – Thanks Liz for sharing your gift with us!

  9. Lauren April 10, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    I love this verse. Thank you for breaking it down so beautifully. You posed the question, could the Bible be summed up in the two words of God’s love? My two word summation of the Bible… but God. We could not… but God could. We don’t know love, but God does. I am a sinner… but God.
    Thank you for food for thought this morning!

    • Shelly K April 10, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I love your summation!

  10. Betsy P April 10, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    I needed to be still for a moment and focus on His compassions! I am not wiped out, I can focus on His outpouring of endless love,flowing! I need His flow of mercies today!

  11. Kathleen April 10, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    His compassion….. new every morning….
    It’s so good to feel His arms of compassion in the morning when I sit down to talk with Him. In my brain I cannot begin to understand why He loves me but He does. He just loves us… If I share what is going on in my life ….. I’m not consumed…. His presence is constant … that is so wonderful in this ever changing world. <3

  12. Ellen Schmidt April 10, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    Ah, His unfailing LOVINGKINDNESS! My favorite word in the whole Bible, in the whole world!

  13. Michele Morin April 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    I enjoy thinking about hesed because it is so unique to God, and we have to bend over backwards with our English thesaurus in order to contain the concept.

  14. Debbie Salmonson April 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    Hesed-what an incredible concept of God’s Truth to understand! I agree with Cristi, the hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” will be swirling around in my head and heart. My current song favorite that was quoted by Linda was awesome as well-“One Thing Remains”-Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me. All of us need to chew on this thought that Lauren brought up, but God…….

  15. Cj April 10, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    God’s love is bringing me peace in my life. As his love unfolds, I want to praise his name above all names. He is my creator, He sees me and cares, He is the almighty, He is eternal, and He is my provider.

  16. Janet April 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    I have often copied this verse into my journals during times when I go to bed crying into my pillow. His mercies are new every morning–providing a reason for hope, that tomorrow, it’s worth it to get out of bed.

    This time, I was struck by the phrase, “we are not consumed”. There have been times in the last year or so when I have felt overwhelmed. Thank you, God, for Your love that protects, heals, and brings us hope, new hope, every morning and in every season.

  17. Erin Pascal April 11, 2013 at 7:48 am #

    Reading and understanding God’s words is always a wonderful feeling for me. It gives me pure joy, happiness, and inspiration. Thank you very much for sharing these verses. I really appreciate it. May God bless you!

  18. Donna April 11, 2013 at 8:23 am #

    New every morning…wow..I don’t have to worry about what did not go right yesterday or what might happen today. It is a new day in God’s eyes.I am soso grateful for that. And His love never fails, it never runs out it never says sorry i am tired of your mistakes and failures He loves me anyway all the time. Wow. Thanks Liz. When are you coming back to Memphis?

  19. Kathy April 11, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    Good morning! This verse means so much to me. When we found out our pastor had a brain tumor, we were in prayer interceding for him and The Lord gave me this verse.. It has so ministered to him and his familyand our church. That was 4 years ago, we are still believing for new mercies every morning.

  20. Karen April 11, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    I have to admit, when I see or hear the word “hesed” my stomach clenches a bit. But not because of what you might think. You see, my father used that word as part of a ministry title for years. In fact, it was a part of his email address. And then he betrayed my mother and my family in the worst way possible. He continues in sin today. For the past two years God has worked on helping me forgive my earthly father and trust Him to be my Daddy, my Abba. Any residual hesitations I have to trust Him, because of the choices my father made, have been gently nudged away through His faithfulness. Today I confidently approach a loving Father who I know will never let me down. His compassions NEVER fail. How amazing is that?!

  21. Bonnie Brown April 11, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    I’m writing on behalf of Mt. Tabor United Methodist SALT (Serving And Learning Together) Women’s Bible Study group. We decided to do this study of 20 Verses with you when we meet each week. We are excited to be sharing this unique experience with all of you. We’ve decided to enter each new verse in our journals and commit it to memory. Thank you, Liz, for this fun new way to have Bible Study. Looking forward to verse #19!

  22. CarolAnne April 11, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    You are a MINX Liz! This is starting out like a mystery story…all I have to say is “Thank You”! Once again, you open our eyes and hearts in wonder to God’s holy words.

  23. lynne April 11, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    Two of our children struggled with depression and substance abuse. Their hopelessness led to suicide attempts. My heart broke in a million pieces and my helplessness made me so angry. I was so scared. I eventually remembered that God knew my children’s names and He loved them more than I did. He had counted the hairs on their heads. They were precious to Him. The darkness began to subside and God’s faithfulness shone through. As Liz writes, there was no room for fear. He would never leave me nor would He leave them. He had made a covenant with us. they both still struggle , but I cling to His faithfulness. He never forgets His children.

    • bonnie April 12, 2013 at 12:47 am #

      Lynne, I feel your pain. I remember times I was literally flat on my face with my hands turned up, tears pouring… in fear, pain, sorrow, longing… for my son. Then again later for my daughter. Reading and searching in my bible for words I could trust. claim. believe. know. Lamentations was where I camped for quite some time. Then I gathered so many more promises as I stood up and began trusting my creator god with my heart and the lives of my children. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Esnath Ndlovu April 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    I feel so encouraged i can face each new day with new mercies no matter what am going through and my family thank u lord that we will not be consumed

  25. Rene'e Ryon April 13, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    Thank you Liz.
    This is # 20. To me it is #1, my favorite bible verse.
    Hesed, has gotten me thur alot of different circumstances in my life.
    Praise God. GREAT is his Faithfulness. His mercies r so new every morning.
    If this is where we begin, I can’t wait to see where we end.
    God is so good.
    Blessings to your day.

  26. Carolyn McKee April 14, 2013 at 8:18 am #

    I absolutely could not make it thru this world with his “Hesed”. He has proved it to me over and over. Thank u Jesus!

  27. Marlene April 14, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    On this new morning and as I read this beautiful study, the song, “I Surrender All” runs through my mind. I surrender all the cares that have captured my focus, and the things that hold me back from the purpose God has created me and rest in His “compassions that fail not”. Thank you LORD, we love you.

  28. Janine April 14, 2013 at 8:45 am #

    I was struck by “we are not consumed.” No matter what I face on this life, I will not be completely overwrought. I am not without trials but they won’t completely overtake me. I can survive because His mercies are new, His faithfulness is great and His compassions will never fail or cease. He will let me sit under His wing as long as I need to and His arm will never tire. He will not grow impatient with me but will always have time and renewed mercy for me. That brings me great hope and comfort.
    I will call these things to mind when I need them. Thank you Liz for insight and sharing.

  29. Eleanor April 14, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    The little girl drinking from the fountain is the perfect pic for me, I am a preschool teacher. Of late I have been staying up later into the night, dreading going to bed as the next time I open my eyes, it will be time to return to school and another round of “I am the wicked witch”. (Preschoolers don’t have a lot of self-control; it is more of a case of an external source of control, i.e. – mainly me.) This verse speaks to me in multiple ways: 1) HIS mercies are for me, brand new each and every morning. Compassion overflowing with no carry over. 2) It is my opportunity to learn and show “hesed” to the ones in my care, mercy and compassion overflowing new every morning. 3) It speaks to my expectations of both Adonai and the children. HE believes the best of me, do I do and convey that to my little ones??? This verse is not only a promise to me, but a challenge as well. Thank you!!!

  30. Candice April 14, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    I am the mother of 15. One of my sons has had 7 brain surgeries in the last 15 months. This verse of renewal and never ending mercies that replenish daily has pulled me through until morning. I knew if I could just get to morning there would be a whole new light on things.

  31. Marilyn Whitcomb April 14, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    A million?…..billion?……trillion? times I have failed and still Your mercy remains……..<3

  32. Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm April 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Dave, my husband, died in 11/11 and had it not been for God’s faithfulness, grace, mercy and love I would have killed myself. Great is HIS faithfulness;; HIS mercies new every morning. Daily, I remind Him of His promises because I need reminding.

  33. cindy wininger April 16, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    his mercies are new and fresh every morning speaks to me that no matter how much I messed up the day before his mercies are freshn and his grace covers it all and I have yet another chance to get it right the next day. i n essence i repent at nightly prayer and keep pressing towards the mark the high calling of christ.

  34. Shan May 29, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    LOVE this! I recently wrote about these lamenting verses myself and I love God’s word!!!
    The How to Guru

  35. Marilyn July 23, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    I join the chorus of postings here. This is my greatest and favorite hymn – “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and the the praise cry of my heart and life. His mercies truly are new every morning. I am so grateful. What a wonderful study, Liz – thank you!

  36. naomi May 15, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    it’s been a year since you posted this; it is a blessing to me….truly his mercies are new every morning!

  37. FELICEN June 13, 2014 at 2:36 am #

    I am Witness to that! He sustained me n my sister all along even when we had no jobs,(for two years) we both got jobs today morning! PRAYER!: the best key