STUDY | Spend the week studying 2 Chronicles 26. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.
DETERMINE | Many questions have been included in this guide. Read through this lesson to determine which questions will work best to encourage, push, and grow your group.
PRAY | As you prepare, pray for the preaching of God’s Word this coming weekend. Pray also for your time in this week’s study and your group’s openness to God’s Word.
LANDING POINT | True greatness is seeking God’s kingdom daily.
Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion
- Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
- No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
- No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
- Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group.
As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.
The quest for greatness is nothing new to us. Warriors seek it on the battlefield. Athletes strive to establish their greatness on the court. Artists sweat and toil to create their masterpiece. Rulers negotiate and push reforms to cement a great legacy. In business, people seek greatness in the size of their company and salary.
But what if we’re missing the point in our quest for greatness? What if we saw greatness differently? Let’s look at what makes someone great through the life of Jotham.
Q: How does our culture define greatness? Give examples.
Q: Describe someone who is great. What are they like?
Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.
JOTHAM’S FAITHFUL LEGACY
We’re told that Jotham did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Unlike his father, Uzziah, Jotham was faithful to God until the end of his reign. He was different than other kings. He didn’t let his power go to his head. We’re given a list of his accolades, his building projects, his success on the battlefield, and the tribute that he received from the Ammonites. Jotham was a great king, but he became great because of his steadfast pursuit of God. He wasn’t smarter or savvier than others. He was simply faithful and obedient and put God first in everything.
READ: Read 2 Chronicles 27. What separated Jotham from his father Uzziah?
Q: Describe in your own words what it means to have a “steadfast pursuit of God.”
Select 2-3 question from this section to answer.
DEVELOP A BIGGER VISION
What can we learn about greatness from Jotham? Let’s look at four principles evident in Jotham’s life and how they relate to your daily walk as a disciple. First, Jotham had a bigger vision of greatness. He wasn’t focused on himself and what he could accomplish as king. He was devoted to making God great. He understood that his life was not about him. It was about God and His plans.
Jesus also gave His disciples a bigger vision of the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is life as it was meant to be lived. It’s a life that puts Him at the center and everything else in second place. Instead of focusing on secondary things, Jesus told His followers to go after the one thing worth pursuing, the kingdom of God.
Q: What’s one way you could seek the kingdom first in your life this week?
LEAD BY CONVICTION
Second, Jotham ruled with conviction. He was convinced that following God’s path was better than all others. He walked the path of obedience, and it was a lonely one for him. Corruption and idolatry still existed in Judah, but that didn’t deter the king from living by his convictions.
Jesus warned His disciples to count the cost of discipleship when He told them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Following Jesus doesn’t guarantee life will get easier. Sometimes following Jesus makes life harder. But is the gain of knowing God greater than anything you might lose or suffer?
Q: Where is it difficult for you to serve God in your life right now? Why?
The third principle we see in Jotham’s life is that he treasured his relationship with God. With God as his treasure, the king made every decision with a desire to please God. Jotham never did anything that would cause people to doubt God’s greatness.
Jesus once said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34). Your heart is the core of your being. It’s where your deepest emotions, desires, and convictions dwell. What your heart goes after reveals what you value most. A heart that treasures God puts Him first in everything.
Q: Describe someone you know who treasures God. What would it look like to live more like them?
SMALL, FAITHFUL STEPS
The final principle we see in Jotham’s life is that he made small, faithful steps in life. We’re told what Jotham accomplished as king. But let’s be honest. Jotham’s not one of the go-to stories we tell kids in Sunday school. And, yet, there’s something remarkable about his life. His greatness came not from some heroic feat or daring adventure, but from his simple, consistent obedience to God.
Eugene Peterson defined discipleship as “a long obedience in the same direction.”1 In our culture, we want fast solutions and instant results. But God works on a different timetable. Just look at nature. How long does it take a tiny acorn to become a giant, sprawling oak tree? Moses tended sheep in Midian for forty years before God called him. God is at work in your life on His timetable. All He asks you to do is take each step in faithful obedience. Let Him do the rest.
Q: What small, faithful step is God calling you to make right now?
Jesus taught that whoever obeys His commands and teaches others to do the same will be called great in God’s kingdom (Matt. 5:19). True greatness is seeking God’s kingdom daily. Our God is a pursuing God, and He wants to be the ultimate treasure of every heart. God wants to use you to spread a joy for His name in your home, workplace, and neighborhood. This is the heart of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19–20), to invite others to live the life God always intended for them. When we do this, we are truly great in God’s eyes.
Q: How can your group encourage one another to seek God’s kingdom more?
Q: Who in your life needs to hear the truth of this message? How will you tell them?
Pray for God to give you a singular desire for His kingdom. Ask Him to reveal areas in your life where you don’t put His kingdom first. Pray for Him to reveal ways you can be salt and light for others (i.e., to show others what it looks like to live for God’s kingdom).
Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:
Read Matthew 5:13–16 and reflect on what it means to be salt and light for others.
Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned where they see God at work in their life.
Jesus and the Kingdom of God
Jesus began His ministry be saying that the kingdom of God had arrived (see Matt. 4:17; cf. Mark 1:15). The kingdom of God was central to Jesus’ ministry. The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7) consolidates Jesus’ teachings into guidelines for kingdom living. Jesus doesn’t define the kingdom of God, but He does describe the kingdom in parables (see Matt. 13:1–52).
The Dangers with Success
“The danger with success is the possibility of forgetting God (see Deut. 6:10–12), but if you order your ways before him, that won’t happen. And how can anyone become proud when they’re doing anything ‘before the Lord’?”2
Four Virtues of Good Leadership
Cyril J. Barber has identified in the life of Jotham four virtues every leader should have. First, Jotham was prudent (or discerning). Before Jotham made a decision, he submitted it to God, which shows that he lived under God’s authority. Second, Jotham was just. He had deep integrity and ruled according to God’s Law. Third, Jotham’s relationship with God gave him self–control. His reverence for God trumped any personal pursuit to make his own name great. Finally, Jotham had perseverance. He had a clear purpose as king and avoided any distractions that hindered his goals as king.3
1. See Eugene H. Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society, 20th ed. (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Books, 2000).
2. Andrew Thomson, Opening Up 2 Chronicles, Opening Up Commentary (Leominster: Day One Publications, 2011), 87.
3. Cyril J. Barber, 2 Chronicles: The Faithfulness of God to His Word Illustrated in the Lives of the People of Judah, Focus on the Bible Commentary (Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2004), 197–199