Jeremiah continues to use metaphors to illustrate Israel’s infidelity to God. First she was pictured as a prostitute. Then he said she was a hybrid plant unable to produce fruit. Now he explains how they were soiled, dirtied, and stained in a way that no soap could clean. 06 skin deepJeremiah 2:22 says, “Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me, declares the Lord GOD.” I’m sorry but I can’t help but remember the song from the Jarmels back in 1961. It’s a song from the perspective of a jilted lover. The verses go something like this, “A little bit of soap will wash away your lipstick on my face, your powder on my chin, and your perfume. But a little bit of soap will never, never, never ever erase the pain in my heart and my eyes as I go through the lonely years. A little bit of soap

will never wash away my tears.” Then it says “like a bird you left your robin’s nest and just like all the rest you flew away…” We’ve all flown away from God’s love. This always “fills his heart with pain” (See Genesis 6).

The sin was in turning from God to religions of self-effort. All the nations around them practiced the dark arts of attempting to manipulate their gods to give them what they wanted. It often involved gross rituals and human sacrifices and wild sexual misconduct. It was believed in those practices they’d find some sort of satisfying connection with the divine. This corruption was more than skin deep. I like Constance’s comment, “Nothing they could do in trying to wash away their sin of self-effort could blot out their gross transgression.”[1] No our sin is not just skin deep. It goes all the way to the bone and beyond. It’s at the core of us all.

Ryken is right on when he writes, “Sin is not simply a cosmetic problem. Even after the detergent, the exotic cleansers, the turpentine, and the tomato juice, the stain of sin remains. What soap can wash away sin from the soul?  There is no home remedy to take away guilt.”[2] Yet there is one detergent that will reach beyond the surface into the souls of men and women. John tells us about it in 1 John 1:7. He writes, “…the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Since I started with some song lyrics let me give some other ones to close. I hope you know these well. “Are you washed in the blood, in the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb? Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin, And be washed in the blood of the Lamb; There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean, O be washed in the blood of the Lamb!”

[1] Mrs. T. M. Constance, Jeremiah, vol. 1 (Dickson, TN: Explorer’s Bible Study, 1978), 12.

[2] Philip Graham Ryken, Jeremiah and Lamentations: From Sorrow to Hope, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 45.