Something to think about: These words from the Psalms are sometimes understood to mean that we should not trust human beings, but their message is simply that we should not put our trust in men. The two things are quite different. We can interact with people – especially fellow believers – who are completely trustworthy and whom we may trust in everyday dealings. But that is not the same as putting our trust in men.
In this verse, the psalmist speaks of not looking to humans for the ultimate protection and help we need in life. For some, their trust in “man” may be in the government, friends, family, or even themselves, but we need only read the rest of the psalm to see that the author – presumably King David – was reflecting on dire situations that he had survived thanks to God’s clear help.
This is also a messianic psalm and much that it has to say clearly reflects the life of the promised messiah, Jesus Christ. The principle the verse teaches was repeated elsewhere both by David “I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him” (Psalm 62:1 HCSB), and by Jesus himself “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). But whether we apply Psalm 118:8 to the life of David or Jesus, its message of where our deepest trust should be in life certainly applies to us.
This verse is often said to be the center verse of the whole Bible, but that depends entirely on which version of the Bible one looks at. Psalms 117 is certainly the shortest chapter in the Bible, and Psalm 119 is certainly the longest chapter in the Bible. Nice as it might have been, Psalm 118 – sitting between them – is not the central chapter in most Bibles, and verse 8 is not the central verse. Yet the principle this verse gives is certainly one of central importance in the life of faith!