Today's reading from Nehemiah 9.
Chapter 8 demonstrated the power of God's Word in their lives. Chapter 9 reveals the power of God's work. As the people are led into a time of confession, what we begin to see is a retelling of God's faithfulness to the people. They recounted creation, the choosing of Abram, the initiation of the covenant, the exodus from Egypt, the wandering in the wilderness, the sins of the people, the settling of the Promised Land, the many ebbs and flows of Israel's relationship with God up to the moment in which they found themselves.
Why did the Israelites go to this exercise of retelling these many events? It is because of the power in the testimony of God's work. At every turn, Israel's history revealed a gracious and merciful God who refused to give up on His people and His plan even though they were less than faithful most of the time. He continually chose to extend grace in spite of their rampant and flagrant sinfulness.
It is the memory of all that God had faithfully done in their past that emboldened them to consider that He might continue that practice once more in this moment. Seeing His previous actions toward them encouraged them to hope that He might, yet again, free them from the slavery they now endured if only they would finally heed His words and His ways. The story of Israel's past dealings with God inspired the people to place their faith in Him for their future.
Is there some seemingly insurmountable obstacle before you? Do you find yourself in dire need of God's work in the present to secure your future? Then look to your past. Remember His faithfulness. Recall His inexhaustible grace extended time and again to you previously. Do you really think you have finally come to the place where all hope runs dry? No. That place does not exist because God will not allow it. He is a gracious and merciful God.