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.
Commenting on the title of Psalm 84, Augustine notes a reference to wine presses but no content in the Psalm actually speaking of wine presses. He then compares the grape and olive to humans destined to be made like the Lord, eventually pressed by Jesus’ death (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333065, par. 1). Particularly he sees that the poor of this world, who have no resources of their own, are pressed by God and become refined and precious (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333081, par. 3). Because the value comes from God’s work, received as we depend on God, Augustine urges his readers to seek God’s will and interests (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333091, par. 4). The presence of God is the place of pleasure and value. Thus, in verses 1-2 the Psalmist delights in the Lord’s courts. The rejoicing of the Psalmist is in the Lord’s courts, where precious things may be kept and where there is shelter (v. 3) (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333112, par. 7).
Verse four proclaims the blessedness of those dwelling in God’s house. Augustine considers this as great riches (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333127, par. 8). God’s house is the place of space and peace. All the resources of God are available to His people there. Augustine, often observing that God’s house is the refuge for all people who are in need, asks how we get there. This question is spurred by verse 5, which speaks of the happiness of the man who is strong in God (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333158, par. 9). The strength and refuge come from the Holy Spirit’s work to draw people to himself. Verses 6-7 describe the drawing process as a stairway which leads up to God (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333168, par. 10). Drawing on Romans 7, Augustine affirms that we would not be able to approach God ourselves. He makes an argument here which is rather similar to the Lutheran view of Law and Gospel (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333178, par. 10). It is the grace of God, not our attempted obedience, which delivers blessing (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333188, par. 11).
The man of God still struggles with troubles, according to verse 8 (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333202, par. 12). However, eveni n the midst of trials and troubles, we call out to God (v. 9) and know He will answer. Verse 10 reflects that a day in God’s courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. Augustine reflects on an everlasting day in God’s presence as opposed to many years of earthly life (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333208, par. 14).
The Psalm moves then to great encouragement. The security and refuge we find in God’s presence is, according to verse 12, “because god loveth mercy and truth” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333218, par. 16). He cares for His people and delivers His promises to them. Therefore, God gives good to “those who walk in innocence” (v. 12). Augustine reflects that various criminal and immoral elements manage to grasp wealth and power, but only because God allows it. Yet God keeps an even greater storehouse of riches for His people (Augustine Psalms, loc. 333238, par. 17).