Praise the Lord, Jerusalem!
Zion, praise your God!
The psalmist does recount the deeds for which God ought to be praised, it’s true. But those aren’t always what present themselves to us on any given day. Some days we hurt, physically or emotionally. Some days we’re just exhausted in body and in soul. The future looks bleak, or we feel alone. God may well have ‘strengthened the bars of [our] gates’, but it doesn’t seem to have made a difference today.
The psalmist is right, though, to call us to praise. Praise God, anyway: ‘Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High; and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall honor me’ (Psalm 49 : 14-15). So I thank God for the tree outside my window, its bare branches silhouetted against a white sky. And in the same breath I call upon God, in this day of mundane trouble, of garden-variety joylessness: restore my hope in your salvation. You will rescue me, and I will honor you.