Summary: Revival means “to recover or return from a state of neglect.” Lord knows we were the city of neglect: Our streets have been neglected. Our sewer and water system had been neglected. Our educational system had been neglected. Our poor had been neglected. T
John Hyde went to India as a missionary a little over a 100 years ago. He felt a strong calling to the nation of India and began to spend hours learning the local language. In 1892 he boarded a steamer in New York bound for India. In route, John received a telegram from a close family friend. He opened it hurriedly on the deck of the ship. The only words of the telegram were, "John Hyde, are you filled with the Holy Spirit?" John’s response was one of heated anger. He crumpled the paper, put it into his pocket and went to bed. Unable to sleep, he tossed and turned all night. He woke in the early morning hours, took the piece of paper and read it again. He thought, “The audacity of somebody to ask me that question, ‘Am I filled with the Holy Spirit?’ Here I am a missionary, sincere, dedicated, leaving my home and going to another country. How dare they ask me if I am filled with the Holy Spirit?” Wasn’t he equipped for his call? After all he had received a B.A. degree, studied the language, was even on the way and was determined to pursue his destiny. Yes, he was on his way, but Hyde was challenged by the note. After much soul searching, he fell to his knees before the Father. “O God,” he cried out, “the audacity of me thinking that I could pray or preach or witness or live or serve or do anything in my own strength and power. Fill me with your strength. Fill me with Your power.” And as a result, John Hyde became one of the great missionaries of all time.
If you were with us in our messages on Chapter 8, you will remember that the Jews upon hearing the Law of Moses read were convicted in their heart. Yet they were told to stop mourning and start rejoicing. They celebrated the Festival of Booths and each built their booths which served as a reminder of God’s deliverance from slavery out of Egypt. This was the first time they celebrated the festival as such. The Israelites had come home after their long captivity in Babylon, had rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem but now they wanted to feel and experience the presence of God in the lives and their nation once again. For they knew they could do nothing which lay ahead of them without the presence of God in their midst. And so they were determined to do whatever it took to make that happen.
Though the Festival of Booths was over; revival was just beginning. Today’s message can be summarized like this: if we are ever going to rebuild New Orleans, if we are ever going to rise above what we once were and if we are ever going to reclaim this city for God, then it’s going to take revival. What we see in our Scripture today is the steps to revival of the nation of Israel and the revival of Gods people. Revival means “to recover or return from a state of neglect.” Lord knows we were the city of neglect: Our streets have been neglected. Our sewer and water system had been neglected. Our educational system had been neglected. Our poor had been neglected. The integrity of our public officials had been neglected.