Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Schaff, Philip (editor). New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co, 1886. Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers: Series 1: Volume VIII. Re-published 2014, Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle electronic edition, ISBN-13: 978-1-78379-372-3.
Augustine begins his comments on Psalm 86 by describing the gift of God in Christ and wondering at the way God prayer for us, His Body, as our head (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333415, par. 1). Psalm 86:1 asks God to bow down His ear and hear. This shows the humble nature of God, as exhibited in Christ (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333432, par. 2). In the same way, Augustine sees a biblical principle that the greatest works of the rich and powerful are works of mercy (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333438, par. 3). Augustine again recalls that the Psalm is really a prayer of Christ, when in verse two the Psalmist says he is holy. Jesus is the one who is holy by nature and who makes His Church holy as well (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333458, par. 4).
Despite being made holy by God, Christians still endure afflictions. Verse three expresses a continual crying out to God for mercy. Augustine says it is fitting and helpful that Christ hears all His people crying out to Him and then cares for their needs (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333472, par. 5). This lifting up of our soul to the Lord makes us glad. Augustine recognizes this as an encouragement to bring every trial before the Lord in prayer (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333478, par. 6). God’s response, according to Augustine, is much different from our response. In our prayers we are doubting and distracted, often addressing God but paying more attention to others. Our human patience with this would run out quickly, but God’s patience endures (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333498, par. 7). Augustine illustrates our double-minded nature at length. In return for all our doubts, God gives us good (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333518, par. 8). Again, Augustine illustrates the goodness of God at length. Verse six asks God to fix our prayers in His ears. Augustine reminds us that we also fix God’s law in our hearts (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333531, par. 9). We need this because we are still enduring trouble, hence our need for prayer (v. 7). Until we see God face to face, we will have trouble. Yet God is the true God (v.8). Among all the gods of the world, there is none like the true God (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333558, par. 11).
Because God is the true God, in verse 9, all the nations worship before Him. He is the great God (v. 10). Augustine observes that God’s kingdom is over all, encompassing the entire world (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333598, par. 13). So, all around the world, we ask God’s leadership (v. 11).