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.
At the start of his comments on Psalm 67, Augustine speaks of the effect ofblessing or cursing the Lord. It has no effect on God, but blessing the Lord increases our soul, while cursing him decreases it (Augustine Psalms, loc. 328718). For this reason Augustine urges chanting the Psalms “with no empty voice, but with true heart” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 328726). This is how we are nourished and built up in Christ. He does grant that we suffer loss as well as gain, as does the whole world. But the one who trusts in God has a rich hope, regardless of physical circumstances (Augustine Psalms, loc. 328743). Augustine then makes an extended comparison of the man of God to an ant, which works to gather food but stores it and eats of it in a secret place even through times of trial. The godly person is nourished by God and stores up his promises so as to stand firm in times of difficulty.
Verse two speaks to the goal of a life blessing the Lord, “That we may know on earth Thy way” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 328787). This is the way to approach God. Augustine ties this to Jesus’ self-identification as “the way.” This concept leads us directly to verse three, which speaks of all nations confessing God. As Christ is the savior of all nations, within the Church all nations can come together (Augustine Psalms, loc. 328804). Because the confession of the Church is one of Gospel, freedom from punishment, the song of the Church is one of rejoicing, as in verse four. Augustine points out that fear and pain can lead to a confession, but that a confession full of rejoicing comes from God’s goodness (Augustine Psalms, loc. 328831). This in turn leads to an orderly life of good works, which maintains the soul by blessing God.
The fruit of godliness (v. 6), then, consists in giving honor and blessing to God. Augustine describes the fruit as the Chruch, being filled with the Holy Spirit and blessing God, also pouring out blessings on the people (Augustine Psalms, loc. 328857). The call of God’s people, who are blessing God, is that God would continue blessing them. Augustine observes that an important way God blesses people is by using his people as a blessing. This is our motivation for doing good works (Augustine Psalms, loc. 328866). To be alert for God’s opportunities of service, Augustine calls every Christian to read, to hear, and to listen for God’s call (Augustine Psalms, loc. 328884).