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 123:1 speaks in the singular. "I lift up my eyes." Augustine urges this same personalization on his readers, not a corporate looking to the Lord, but a personal and individual action (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340290, par. 1). When our hearts are heavy, we turn to the Lord and ascend to Him. However, Augustine acknowledges that the distance to heaven is great. If we are to ascend, we want to find a ladder (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340301, par. 2). He finds this ladder of ascent in the humble heart.
Augustine asks, though, what we would understand heaven to be. It is not a place we could discern with our physical eyes (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340306, par. 3). Rather, he takes it to be the dwelling place of the soul, where we can go by faith.
Our act of looking to God, in verse two, is both as a servant looks to a master and as a maid looks to a mistress. Augustine is truck by this, that the God of all corresponds both to master and mistress (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340326, par. 4).
Verse three reflects on the contempt and scorn which is heaped upon the Psalmist, and all Christians (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340335, par. 5). This scorn comes upon us because we have a hope in something which cannot be seen. It is not in the temporal things such as houses and wealth. Augustine reflects that a life "hidden with Christ in God" is incomprehensible to our culture at large (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340345, par. 5). The riches which we have in spirit bring mockery upon us. Augustine observes that it is our spiritual satisfaction which sets us apart from our world and ultimately provokes them (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340350, par. 6). Those who suffer in the temporal world also may mock us. Augustine takes this to be a sign of their dissatisfaction with God, who they perceive as letting them down (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340360, par. 7).
In Augustine's view, though the Christian has the riches of heaven, he should consider himself poor (Augustine Psalms, loc. 340370, par. 8). Our righteousness he compares to dew drops, while the righteousness given by God is a great torrent. We find in ourselves weakness and fatigue, but in God strength and life.