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Summary: This is an expository sermon preached to demonstrate the foolishness of turning away from Christ and seeking fulfillment apart from Him.

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Introduction: Have you ever placed little value on something, only to miss it dearly once it was gone? We’ve often heard the saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”

Example: Earlier this year while itinerating to raise up our missions support, after completing a missions service for a church, the following morning before we left to return home, the pastor stopped by to say goodbye. He said, “I’m sorry I don’t have much time to talk. I’ve got an appointment with a man that has agreed to sell me some acreage for an agreed upon price of $20,000, and I’m hopeful to close on the land quickly. I already met with a lumber company with which I have agreed to sell the timber off of the land for about $400,000. So you see, I need to be going.” I could understand the rush! The poor seller had no idea of the value of what he had.

I suppose silver and gold shall pass with the using, but nothing compares with the presumption of this story: “The Origin of Taps”

It all began in 1862 during the Civil War when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison’s Landing in Virginia. The Confederates were on the other side of the narrow strip of land.

During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach, the captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment.

When the captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered by the uniform that it was a Confederate soldier—the enemy—but the soldier was already dead. The captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son. He’d been fighting an enemy with an unknown face all that day, which to him was of no consequence. But now the enemy had a face—his son’s face.

The boy had been studying music when the war broke out. Without the father’s knowledge, his son had enlisted in the Confederate Army. The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial despite his enemy status.

His request was only partially granted. He was granted permission to bury the soldier, but without the accompanying army band playing the customary funeral dirge. Out of respect for the father, the Commanders granted permission for only one musician to play, and so the captain chose a bugler.

Captain Ellicombe asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found one a piece of paper in the pocket of his dead son’s uniform. The bugler consented, and the haunting melody we now know as “Taps”, used at military funerals, was born.

The song is a constant reminder that in the Civil War it was

Text: Matthew 27:9 “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value.” The fulfillment of prophecy thus stated actually belongs to two original prophecies, one from Jeremiah, and the other by Zechariah. How sad a reflection of the sentiment of not only the Sanhedrin and its affiliates, but Levi in giving us the fulfillment of this prophecy, describes the demeanor of the nation of the Jews as a whole toward their Messiah, “whom they of the children of Israel did value.” How very wide is the gulf between the estimation of man and things which God highly esteems.


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