Verse 8. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better in all ways, for first of all it is wiser: God is infinitely more able to help, and more likely to help, than man, and therefore prudence suggests that we put our confidence in him above all others. It is also morally better to do so, for it is the duty of the creature to trust in the Creator. God has a claim upon his creatures' faith, he deserves to be trusted; and to place our reliance upon another rather than upon himself, is a direct insult to his faithfulness. It is better in the sense of safer, since we can never be sure of our ground if we rely upon mortal man, but we are always secure in the hands of our God. It is better in its effect upon ourselves: to trust in man tends to make us mean, crouching, dependent; but confidence in God elevates, produces a sacred quiet of spirit, and sanctifies the soul. It is, moreover, much better to trust in God, as far as the result is concerned; for in many cases the human object of our trust fails from want of ability, from want of generosity, from want of affection, or from want of memory; but the Lord, so far from falling, does for us exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or even think. This verse is written out of the experience of many who have first of all found the broken reeds of the creature break under them, and have afterwards joyfully found the Lord to be a solid pillar sustaining all their weight.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 8. It may perhaps be considered beneath the dignity and solemnity of our subject to remark, that this 8th verse of this Psalm is the middle verse of the Bible. There are, I believe, 31,174 verses in all, and this is the 15,587th. I do not wish, nor would I advise you to occupy your time in counting for yourselves, nor should I indeed have noticed the subject at all, but that I wish to suggest one remark upon it, and that is, that though we may generally look upon such calculations as only laborious idleness, -- and they certainly have been carried to the most minute dissection of every part of Scripture, such as to how many times the word "Lord," the word "GOD," and even the word "and," occurs, -- yet I believe that the integrity of the holy volume owes a vast deal to this scruple weighing of these calculators. I do not say, nor do I think, that they had such motives in their minds; but whatever their reasons were, I cannot but think that there was an overruling Providence in thus converting these trifling and apparently useless investigations into additional guards and fences around the sacred text. Barton Bouchier.
Verse 8. It is better to trust in the LORD, etc. Luther on this text calleth it, artem artium, et mirificam, ac suam artem, non fidere hominibus, that is, the art of arts, and that which he had well studied, not to put confidence in man: as for trust in God, he calleth it sacrificium omnium gratissimum et suavissimum, et cultum omnium pulcherrimum, the most pleasant and sweetest of all sacrifices, the best of all services we perform to God. John Trapp.
Verse 8. It is better to trust in the LORD. All make this acknowledgment, and yet there is scarcely one among a hundred who is fully persuaded that God alone can afford him sufficient help. That man has attained a high rank among the faithful, who resting satisfied in God, never ceases to entertain a lively hope, even when he finds no help upon earth. John Calvin.
Verse 8. It is a great cause oftentimes why God blesseth not means, because we are so apt to trust in them, and rob God of his glory, not waiting for a blessing at his hands. This causeth the Lord to cross us, and to curse his own benefits, because we seek not him, but sacrifice to our own nets, putting confidence in outward means. Therefore when we hope for help from them, God bloweth upon them, and turneth them to our hurt and destruction. Abraham Wright.
Verse 8. When my enemies have been brought to contempt, let not my friend present himself unto me as a good man, and bid me repose my hope in himself; for still must I trust in the Lord alone. Augustine.
Verse 8-9. Nothing is more profitable than dwelling on familiar truths. Was there ever a good man who did not believe that it was better to trust in Jehovah than rely on any created arm? Yet David here repeats this truth, that if possible it may sink deep into every mind. William S. Plumer.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 8-9. Better. It is wiser, surer, morally more right, more ennobling, more happy in result.