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.
Psalm 124 is another Psalm of Ascent, which Augustine reminds us is intended to draw our hearts up to the heavenly realms (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340385, par. 1). It is in our heavenly home that we receive an incorruptible life in an incorruptible body. By saying this, Augustine confesses the centrality of the belief in the resurrection of the body.
Verses 1-2 speak of times when people rise against us. It comes as no surprise that those men would desire to crush us (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340395, par. 3). Yet the Lord prevents our being crushed or swallowed (v. 3). Augustine alleges that, in one way or another, we are crushed and swallowed, taken into the world or into the Church (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340405, par. 3). Whatever fury comes against us, even the fury of the world trying to engulf and drown us (v. 4), it cannot overcome us because the Lord has been raised up on our behalf. Verse five describes our soul as escaping, passing over the water.
Augustine here compares the "water without substance" to our souls which have sins. "Sins have not substance: they have want, not substance" (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340425, par. 6). By this he means that forgiven sins bear no weight. They cannot drag us down under the water. The things which would drag us down are the earthly riches that we would hold to (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340430, par. 7).
In verse six, then, we rejoice in the ord, who has not left us as prey to be devoured by the worldly desires of this life (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340435, par. 8). We escape (v. 7) like a bird which slips away from a trap.
The help of the Christian, in verse eight, is in the Lord, maker of all (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340450, par. 10). The work of rescue is the work of God. He is our helper.