Small Group Curriculum

The Battle of Desire

09.10.17 | Game of Thrones

PREPARATION

STUDY | Spend the week studying 2 Chronicles 1. 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 | The Battle for Desire is won with a singular desire for God.

Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion

  1. Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
  2. No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
  3. No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
  4. 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. 

INTRODUCTION

As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.

People are fascinated by the lives of kings and rulers: Epic battles, heroic feats, inspiring speeches, palace intrigue and betrayal. Second Chronicles tells the story of Israel’s kings, particularly the kings of Judah. Although many kings sat on Israel’s throne, few were good and godly. Some kings led the nation to repent and return to God while others led the nation away from God.

God called Israel’s kings to be righteous and just. For that to happen, they had to be ruled by God. Their total devotion was to be for God and His purposes. While many battles are recorded in 2 Chronicles, the greatest battle these kings faced was the one for their hearts. Whatever captured their hearts, ruled them. We face the same struggle today. In this series, your group will look at seven key battles for the throne of our hearts and how God can give us victory in them.

What would you ask for if you were offered anything you desired? This week your group will discuss how King Solomon answered that question and won the Battle of Desire.

Q: What is it about the stories of kings and rulers that fascinates us?

Q: In your own words, why is the battle for the heart the greatest battle a leader will face?


LEARN

Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.

SOLOMON BEGINS HIS REIGN

The first part of 2 Chronicles 1 recalls Solomon’s journey to worship God in Gibeon, a city in the highland region west of the Jordan River. Because the Temple had not yet been built, Solomon and Israel’s leaders worship on the high place in Gibeon. Thousands of animals are offered as sacrifices to God. The beginning of Solomon’s reign as king reveals a desire to obey his father’s (King David) instruction to seek the Lord with his mind and heart.

READ: Read 2 Chronicles 1:1–6. What stands out to you about Solomon’s character?

Q: What can Solomon’s obedience to his father’s instruction teach us today about seeking wisdom?

GOD’S OFFER, SOLOMON’S RESPONSE

That night God makes Solomon a surprising offer, “Ask what I shall give you.” How would the king respond to such an offer? Would he ask for wealth? Possessions? Honor? Long life? Rather than any of these, Solomon asks for wisdom and knowledge. The most powerful man in all Israel humbles himself before the Lord and admits he can’t rule God’s people without God’s wisdom and guidance.

Not only does God grant Solomon’s request, He promises to give him what he didn’t request. The Bible tells us no king before or since Solomon has had as much wealth, possessions, or honor as he enjoyed during his reign as king.

READ: Read 2 Chronicles 7:7–17. How does Solomon’s attitude as king differ from leaders you see today?

Q: Recall a time when God humbled you or reminded you of your limitations. What did you learn from your experience?


LIVE

Select 2-3 question from this section to answer.

WINNING THE BATTLE - WORSHIP & REMEMBER

Solomon’s greatest desire was for God to be with him as he reigned. Power, prestige, and pleasure were worthless to Solomon if he could not have God’s hand guiding him. Solomon’s story reveals four ways you can win the Battle of Desire in your heart. The first way is to worship God wholeheartedly. Before God made His offer to Solomon, the king had revealed his desire to worship and obey God. Obedience and worship precede blessing. The second way to win the battle is to remember the Giver. Ultimately, Solomon’s success as king was because of God’s favor toward him. Solomon understood this, which is why he humbled himself before God. Do you see your relationship to God the same way? Do you see that all you have is from God’s gracious hand? 

Q: What gets in the way of you worshiping God wholeheartedly?

Q: What’s one thing you could do this week to help you remember the Giver?

WINNING THE BATTLE - ACKNOWLEDGE & BELIEVE

The third way to win the battle is to acknowledge your limits. Solomon admitted he was incapable of leading without God. Too often we rush into situations without first seeking the Lord. Winning the Battle for Desire requires that you own your weakness and admit your ability to mess things up when left to your own devices. The fourth way to win the battle is to believe in the blessing. God gave Solomon what he requested and then some. Do you believe God is a good Father who delights to give His children good gifts?

Q: Why are we often reluctant to admit acknowledge our limits?

Q: How would life be different if you saw God as a good Father who delights to give His children good gifts?


LEAD

WIN BY WALKING

The battle in our hearts is a struggle between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit. What goes on in our hearts is a war of competing desires. The only way to overcome the desires of the flesh is to walk by the Spirit. Paul also tells us that, if we belong to Jesus, we have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”1 Victory in the Battle for Desire is possible because of Jesus. He wants to become our greatest desire, our greatest treasure. The gospel gives us hope that our hearts can be surrendered to God and led by His Spirit. Ultimately, the Battle for Desire is won by walking by the Spirit. 

Q: What does it mean to you personally to have Jesus as your greatest treasure?

Q: What does it look like to walk by the Spirit as a community?


PRAY

Begin by praising God for His goodness and specifically thanking Him for His good gifts. Like Solomon, pray for God to give you wisdom in your life—in your home, your workplace or classroom, and your relationships. End by praying for a heart that desires God above all things and value Christ as your greatest treasure.


FOLLOW UP

Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:

  • Read Galatians 5:16–24 and reflect on what it means to walk by the Spirit.

  • Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned where they see God at work in their life.


COMMENTARY

HIGH PLACES

2 Chronicles 1:3 says Solomon and Israel’s leaders went to “the high place” to worship God. “High places were commonly associated with hills or mountains in the OT world. Prior to the construction of the temple, high places were generic worship sites that were not necessarily connected with pagan worship (1 Kings 3:2).”2

The Davidic Covenant

The main theme throughout Chronicles is the role of God’s covenant with David (2 Sam. 7) and how God carried out its fulfillment within Israel’s history. God promised to establish David’s line with a king who would rule forever. Ultimately, this promise was fulfilled in Jesus, the Messiah King (see 2 Chron. 13:5; Ps. 89:20–38; Isa. 55:3; Jer. 33:17, Luke 1:32–33). God also promised that a king from David’s line would build the temple. That promise was fulfilled by David’s son, Solomon (2 Chron. 2:1–7:10). 

Solomon’s Meeting with God

According to 1 Kings 3:5, Solomon’s encounter with God was in a dream.

God’s Steadfast Love

Solomon acknowledges God’s “great and steadfast love” shown by God to his father, David. The Hebrew term for this is hesed (דֶסֶח), which means steadfast love, kindness, faithfulness, loyalty. “The core idea of this term relates to loyalty within a relationship. In relation to the concept of love, it denotes God’s faithfulness to his people.”3 Solomon is praising God for His faithfulness to His covenant.

 

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ENDNOTES:
1. Galatians 5:24
2. D. A. Carson, ed., NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message (Grand Rapids, MI: Zonder- van, 2015), 772.
3. R. P. Nettelhorst, “Love,” ed. Douglas Mangum et al., Lexham Theological Wordbook, Lexham Bible Reference Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014).