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138 years ago today marked a key event in our nation’s history. The date was July 1st, 1863. The location was a small town in Pennsylvania, a town at that time not known for much except a shoe factory that was there. Today, the name of this town represents the bloodiest and one of the most important battles ever to take place on American soil. That town was named Gettysburg.


The Civil War had been raging for over 2 years by then. The North had more manpower and was better equipped. The South had excellent generals. For the most part, the South had whipped the North so far. It might have taken only one more victory for them to win the war. And then, on July 1st, the two armies clashed at Gettysburg for a 3-day battle.


Actually the Confederacy did quite well that first day. They crushed the Federal soldiers and sent them scurrying through town to the hills beyond. Toward the evening, General Robert E. Lee sent a messenger to one of his leading commanders, General Ewell. The order was to take a certain, relatively unoccupied hill if practical. In other words, General Lee wanted Ewell to take this strategic hill if it seemed reasonable to do so.


What followed was one of the greatest military blunders in history. General Ewell, when he received the order from the messenger…did nothing. It would have been so easy for him to take this hill, but for whatever reason, he delayed. Ewell did not grasp the urgency of General Lee’s command. He pretty well ignored the message the messenger brought. And that night, and more Northern soldiers arrived, that strategic point, Culp’s Hill, was occupied by many Union soldiers. The Confederates were never able to dislodge the Federal from that hill, and the South lost the Battle of Gettysburg and eventually the war. Had Ewell listened to the messenger Lee sent him on that first day of the battle, we in Florida might well be living in the Confederate States of America.


Our text for today is about the importance of faithful messengers from God. General Ewell’s failing to listen to a messenger completely changed our country’s history. But when people fail to listen to God’s messengers, it has even greater consequences.

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