“These things I have spoken to you in parables, but the hour is coming when I will no more speak to you in proverbs, but will announce to you plainly concerning the Father.” - John 16:25
Kempton New Church

Week 4
Day 2


Temptations and Victory

Combats of the Lord with the Hells

Psalm 88


A song, a psalm of the sons of Korah; to the victor, on machalath2, Leannoth. A maskil of Heman the Ezrachite.

O Jehovah, God of my salvation,

By day I have cried, by night in Thy presence;


Let my prayer come before Thee;

Incline Thine ear to my loud shout;


For my soul is sated with evils,

And my lives reach toward hell.


I am reckoned with those who go down to the pit;

I am as a mighty man who has no power,


Neglected among the dead,

Like the slain who lie in the grave,

Whom Thou rememberest not any more;

And they are severed from Thy hand.


Thou hast put me in the lowest pit,

In darkness, in depths of the sea.


On me is laid Thy fury,

And Thou hast afflicted me with all Thy breakers3. Selah.


Thou hast made those known to me to be far from me;

Thou hast put me for an abomination to them.

I am held back, and cannot go out;


My eye is sad from affliction.

I call Thee, O Jehovah, in all the day;

I spread out my palms unto Thee.


Wilt Thou do a wonder for the dead?

If the Rephaim4 arise, shall they confess Thee? Selah.


Shall Thy mercy be recounted in the grave?

Thy faithfulness in perishing?


Shall Thy wonder be known in the darkness,

And Thy justice in the land of forgetfulness?


And I, to Thee, O Jehovah, I cry out,

And in the morning my prayer comes before Thee.


Jehovah, why castest Thou off my soul?

Why hidest Thou Thy face from me?


I am afflicted and expiring from my youth;

I bear Thy terrors, I am distraught.


Over me Thy fierceness has passed;

Alarming things from Thee have cut me away.


They surrounded me as water all the day;

They circled upon me together.


Thou hast caused lover and companion to be far from me,

Those known to me to be in darkness.

13,7In temptations that continue even to despair, the Lord addresses the Father, that He is seemingly overcome by the infernals.
10-127God has no glory from the hells.

Depths of the sea, the pit.

AE 538:12. [Psalm 88:4-6] describe[s] the Lord’s temptations when He was in the world, by which He subjugated the hells and glorified His Human. “Waves” and “breakers” signify evils and falsities, and “abysses” and “depths of the sea,” likewise “the pit,” signify the hells where and from which are evils and falsities. For as was said above, temptations are like immersions in the hells and obsessions by evils and falsities.

AE 659:7. [Psalm 88:4-6, 11] treats of temptations, in the highest sense of the Lord’s temptations. This describes of what nature these were, namely, that He seemed to Himself to be in hell among the damned, so fierce and enormous were the temptations the Lord endured.

Why hidest Thou Thy face from me?

AE 412.19. In [Psalm 88:14] it is said that Jehovah, that is, the Lord, conceals and hides His face on account of iniquities and sins, and He is entreated not to conceal or hide it. And yet He never conceals or hides His face, that is, His Divine good and His Divine truth. For the Lord is Divine love itself and mercy itself, and desires the salvation of all. Therefore He is present with all and with each one, even with those who are in iniquities and sins, and by this presence He gives them the freedom to receive Him, that is, to receive truth and good from Him. Consequently they also do receive, if from freedom they desire to. Reception must be from freedom, in order that goods and truths may abide with man, and be with him as his own. For what a man does from freedom he does from affection, for all freedom is of affection, and affection is man’s will. Therefore what is received in freedom, or from man’s affection, enters his will and endures. It then endures because the will is the man himself and in the will his life primarily resides, but secondarily in the thought or the understanding. This therefore is why man ought to receive Divine good and Divine truth, with which the Lord is always present.

2A musical instrument (see AC 8337:5); “Leannoth” means “for affliction.”

3breaking waves (see Psalm 42:7)

4The Rephaim were descendants of the Nephilim, who died in the flood (see AC 581).

Questions and Comments
  1. Does it surprise you that the Lord’s temptations were so severe that He seemed to Himself to be in hell?
  2. How does the severity of the Lord’s temptations affect how we might view our own temptations?
  3. Does it ever feel like the Lord is hiding His face from you? How can this Psalm help us if we feel that way?
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