Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Schaff, Philip (editor). New York: Christian Literature Publishing Col, 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 takes Psalm 43 as associated with fasting or another situation of hunger. He applies it immediately to the Church, a body which hungers for the Lord (Augustine Psalms, loc. 323499). Verse one calls for a distinction between the one who believes God and the one who does not. The Christian desires God, the one who gives immortality. However, the desire of the Christian requires patience, enduring harassment (v. 2) until God’s intervention (Augustine Psalms, loc. 323514). Augustine sums up the heart of our trials. “‘Iniquity’ is the cause of thy mourning; let ‘Righteousness’ be the cause of thy rejoicing!” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 323522). The iniquity may be ours or someone else’s. Regardless, it has an impact. The Psalmist proposes a solution in verse three, asking for divine direction and enlightenment. Augustine asserts Christ as the light of God, the one who can deal with iniquity and separate righteous from unrighteous (Augustine Psalms, loc. 323538). Verse four continues with an affirmation of approach to God’s altar, which Augustine says would not be approached by the unrighteous. This is the place where the righteous are made glad (Augustine Psalms, loc. 323554).
Augustine continues with an allegorical interpretation of praise using two different instruments, one with a resonating part at the top and one at the bottom. Different types of works may all be acceptable to God (Augustine Psalms, loc. 323562). He sees the joyful good works as emanating from above and the more difficult times of trial as good works from below.
Augustine concludes that as the Psalmist asks a question of his soul, it is the mind (understanding) addressing the soul (emotions)(Augustine Psalms, loc. 323577). The mind, able to grasp God’s truth, can encourage the emotions. In the end, though we cannot escape trials, we take courage and rejoice that God has cared for his people He aids us in our walk of righteousness as we look to His provision (Augustine Psalms, loc. 323593).