English Basic Explanation - Chapter 95
This chapter begins with a jubilant call to join together in singing songs of praise to God and extolling His greatness. The author elaborates on God's infinite control of the entire earth and all its elements (verses 4-5), and then emphasizes His unique relationship with Am Yisrael (verse 7). Both these factors require us to express our gratitude and sing songs of praise.
The tone of this chapter changes drastically in the second half (from the middle of verse 7), which presents a stern warning not to repeat the mistake made by our ancestors in the wilderness. Despite their having seen great miracles and wonders during the Exodus from Egypt and beyond, they nevertheless "tested" God and did not trust in His ability to provide for them or lead them to victory against the Canaanite nations. The final verse of this chapter recalls God's harsh response to the people's lack of faith, decreeing that the entire generation should perish in the wilderness, and only their children would enter and settle the Land of Israel.
This warning serves as a disclaimer of sorts to the description of the Jewish people in verse 7 as God's "sheep." As that verse emphasizes, we achieve this status only "if you heed His voice," if we remain loyal to His word. The tragic events of the wilderness prove that Am Yisrael's stature depends on their devotion to God. Even after God performed great miracles for the generation of the wilderness, He still refused to bring them to the land after they failed to display faith and trust. He is prepared to look after us as His "flock" only to the extent to which we are prepared to follow Him obediently. If we want God to be our "shepherd" and care for us with loving kindness and devotion, then we must show unwavering loyalty and obey His commands.