There is an entire history of the people of Israel focused upon the disobedience and unfaithfulness of the people, and also focused on the mercy and everlasting love and patience of our God. Ezra is speaking here and he starts from the very beginning, because it is a very good place to start. He speaks about how God was faithful to Abraham. He then moves to Moses and the people in Egypt and how God led them out of that land of slavery, and yet they wanted to remain slaves. Remember, this is not a few years before, this is thousands of years earlier and the prophet is recounting it so that the people would be able to see this cycle of unfaithfulness of the people which is matched by the grace of God. Without fail God’s grace wins out.
Ezra leads the people to make a covenant with God, a covenant where the people make a firm agreement. We don’t know the terms of the covenant, we don’t see that yet in this chapter, but we do look forward to, as Jeremiah states, that covenant that is written upon our hearts. Because when that happens then we don’t need a piece of paper to remind us of the faithfulness of God, it will be written on our hearts.