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Unfinished Work

Introduction
To a group of discouraged Jewish leaders and workers, who had abandoned their God-assignment for nearly 15 years, God sends a word through his prophet describing the finale or the dedication service. The word was that Zerubbabel, you are going to complete the task that you started, not by your might or power, but only by my Spirit.

The Work
Ezra 1-6

1. The beginning – Cyrus’ proclamation after 70 year captivity you are free, now go and build God’s house in Jerusalem.
2. The altar – start with worship to the God who brought you out.
3. The foundation – as of yet, there is no foundation for God’s house. The work has not yet begun. You must start the work God has assigned you to. This is worthy of a celebration when you break ground on what God has assigned you to (Ezra 3:8-10).
4. The opposition – the adversary is faithful to show up to any true work of God (Ezra 4:1).
5. The frustration of purpose only designed to STOP THE WORK (Ezra 4:4).
6. The work ceases – inspired by the adversary, the king issued a STOP WORK DECREE (Ezra 4:22).
7. Work of the prophets – God send Haggai and Zechariah to prophesy his message. Zerubbabel and Joshua RESUMED THE WORK that had been stalled for 15 years now (INACTIVITY) (Ezra 5:1-2. What happens when things go inactive?
8. Not yet finished – the adversary sent word to the king, or a PROGRESS REPORT, and he was CONCERNED about it. But the bottom line still is that the work was NOT YET FINISHED (Ezra 5:16).
9. The 2nd Proclamation – DON’T MESS WITH THE WORK OF GOD (Ezra 6:6). Notice the king had the good sense to know the need for the house of God: 1) may offer pleasing sacrifices (praise) to the God of heaven, and 2) prayers be made for the king and his sons (Ezra 6:9-10).
10. The finished work – in the end, was it the decrees of the kings or the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah that got the project moving again? The verse say, “The Jews built and prospered through the PROPHESYING OF HAGGAI and ZECHARIAH. They FINISHED THEIR WORK by the decree of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes” (Ezra 6:14-15). So the decree of King Cyrus propelled some of the Jews to return home and start the work, and later, after their adversaries stirred up King Artaxerxes to halt the work until further word came from him. Then Darius decrees a second time for the work to resume and tells Tattenai, the governor of the province beyond the River, to “keep away” and “let the work on this house of God alone” (Ezra 6:6-7).

Then Haggai shows best how the prophets message caused the discouraged group who returned from Babylon to build the temple to get moving again. His account says, “… the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God sent him.” When Haggai spoke the Lord’s message to the people, “The Lord stirred up spirit of Zerubbabel,” and Joshua, and of “all remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God” (Hag. 2:13-14). Also, Haggai 2 shows how the people were operating under a curse for their disobedience to God’s command to rebuild his house, and then indicates that something changed with by use of the words “from this day on, I will bless you” in verses 15-19.

What unfinished Assignments do we need to resume?
Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be ESTABLISHED; believe his prophets and you will SUCCEED (prosper) (2 Chron. 20:20).

It is interesting to read the commentaries on who the two olive trees beside the golden lampstand are in Zechariah’s vision of chapter 4. Some of the tops candidates are: Zechariah and Haggai, Zerubbabel and Joshua, or possibly angels assigned to assist in the work. It is interesting to note that Rev. 11:4 says that the two infamous witnesses that breathe out fire to consume their opponents and even shut up the rain during the days of their prophesying in the last days are “the two olive trees and the two lamp stands that stand before the Lord of the earth.” When God warns the Church of Ephesus that if they don’t repent, their lampstand will be removed. This most likely refers to God’s representative or leader to the church rather than an angel.

This leads me to believe that the prophets assigned to the work were most likely the one who Zechariah was referring to since they were God’s mouthpieces speak his message to the people. That’s why the above verse leads me to conclude that when we truly “believe his prophets,” we too shall “prosper.” This verse is often used to show how that believing the word of the prophet will bring about prosperity to the ones who receive the message. I agree with that; however, putting it altogether, we must include that the word of the prophet would never say, “From this day forward, I will bless you” if you have unfinished work that God has assigned you to. But it does say, that as we RESUME THE work that God has assigned us to, God will also RESUME the blessing with our name on it! Actually, if you read the details of the 2nd decree from King Darius, that blessing will “be paid to these men in full and without delay” (Ezra 6:8).