Small Group Curriculum

The Battle of Personal Pride

10.08.17 | Game of Thrones

PREPARATION

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 | The keys to overcoming pride are fearing God, humility and obedience.

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.

King Uzziah could have been remembered as one of Judah’s greatest kings. But he became proud, and pride can make the best of men dangerous and disobedient fools. This week your group will look at Uzziah’s story and how to win the Battle with Personal Pride. The keys to overcoming pride are fearing God, humility, and obedience.

Q: What are the differences between good pride and bad pride?

Q: What characterizes someone who is prideful?


LEARN

Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.

THE HUMBLE KING IS BLESSED

Uzziah was a teenager when he took the throne in Judah. His reign was long (52 years), and it began about as well as you can imagine. We’re told Uzziah feared God and did what was right. Because of this, God blessed him. Uzziah had success in battle against the Philistines, recovered land that once belonged to Judah, received tribute from the Ammonites, and gained strength and renown. Under Uzziah’s leadership, Judah prospered and the future looked bright for the nation.

READ: Read 2 Chronicles 26. What stands out to you about the first part of Uzziah’s reign?

Q: Recall a time when God blessed your obedience and share with the group.

THE PROUD KING IS CURSED

But Uzziah’s success went to his head, and pride filled his heart. The king was emboldened and set out on a destructive path. He sealed his fate one day by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar. The priests watched and were horrified. “How could our king do this? This is forbidden in God’s Law.” They confronted Uzziah and warned him that his unfaithfulness would not go unpunished. But Uzziah was indignant. As he fumed in rage, leprous spots began to break out on his forehead. God’s judgment had come for him. For the rest of his life Uzziah lived in a separate house and was banished from entering the house of God.

Q: How does pride make us blind to the consequences of our actions?

Q: What does God’s judgment of Uzziah teach us about how He views pride?


LIVE

Select 2-3 question from this section to answer.

THE LEPROSY OF PRIDE

Ultimately, pride is rebellion against God. It’s trying to take the place and honor due to God in your life. We see this in Uzziah, who thought his way was better than God’s. The Battle with Personal Pride runs deep in each of us. Different people may struggle with different sins, but the real struggle is against pride. It’s at the heart of every kind of sin. King Uzziah’s leprosy was an outward manifestation of the disease of pride in his heart. Pride (and all sin) is like a disease. Left unchecked and untreated, it will spread into all areas of your life and do its damage.

Q: Explain how pride is at the heart of every kind of sin.

Q: What are some ways to evaluate whether you have a pride problem?

PRIDE SAYS, PRIDE TAKES

Pride also turns your attention from God and others and on to yourself. It puts you at the center. It puts you on a mission to be better than the next person. To be a better parent than your neighbors. To be better than your classmates. To be more successful in the sales department than your co-workers. Pride says: 

  • “I really don’t need God in my day-to-day life. I can handle things just fine.”
  • “At least I’m better than [insert name].”
  • “The rules don’t apply to me. I’m an exception.”
  • “I don’t need advice or correction.”

When pride gets its grip on our hearts, we may say (or at least think) these things. In time, unchecked and untreated pride will lead to serious consequences. Pride has a price. Pride will take:

  • Your judgement. Uzziah didn’t fear God, which made him a dangerous and disobedient fool. Proverbs tells us the first step to gaining wisdom is to fear the Lord. Without it, we will despise wisdom and instruction like Uzziah.
  • Your relationships. Uzziah was cast out and lived as lonely leper until his death. Pride makes you unpopular. It ruins relationships, because it puts your needs and concerns above the needs and concerns of others.
  • Your honor and blessing. God gave Uzziah honor and blessing as long as he was obedient. When Uzziah became proud, God took all of that away. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that the way to blessing is through humility, not pride.

Q: How would you change the above statements about what pride says to reflect God’s truth?

Q: What does it mean to fear the Lord? Where do you see this present or lacking in your life?


LEAD

VICTORY THROUGH SURRENDER

Pride is the enemy’s greatest weapon against us. But we have hope for victory. Jesus fought the Battle with Personal Pride for us and won. Instead of choosing pride, the Apostle Paul says Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant.” Jesus became one of us to show us the path of humility and obedience. Jesus surrendered Himself to the Father’s will, even to the point of death. And His death on the cross was the ultimate victory over the power of sin.

Q: Where might God be revealing pride in your heart?

Q: What’s a practical way you could follow Jesus’ example of surrender and service this week?


PRAY

Praise God for Jesus, who gives you victory in the Battle with Personal Pride. Ask Him to reveal areas in your heart where pride exists. Take time to listen to the Father. Repent of whatever sin He shows you. Remember God’s compassion and grace. He longs to forgive and restores the humble.


FOLLOW UP

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

  • Read Philippians 2:1–11 and reflect on how Jesus lived His life in humble obedience to the Father.

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


COMMENTARY

Uzziah Sins in the Temple (2 Chron. 26:16–20)

“Burning incense was strictly limited to the Aaronic priesthood (Exod. 30:1–10; Num. 16:40), so Uzziah’s actions constituted covenantal unfaithfulness. Moreover, Uzziah’s entry into the temple violated God’s stipulations for his holy space. Uzziah’s pride in light of his God-gifted accomplishments embolden him to disregard boundaries established by God.” 1

Blessing and Cursing

In Deuteronomy 28, Moses gives Israel a choice—to obey God and experience blessing or disobey Him and experience curses. God made the choice simple for His people. Obedience would be rewarded. But God understood the disobedient hearts of His people and knew they would not obey. Ultimately, Israel’s disobedience led to their exile. As Christians, we view our ultimate blessing as coming from Christ’s obedience and His removing the curse of sin we deserved.

Leprosy

In the Bible, the term ‘leprosy’ generally refers to a variety of skin disorders. Depending on the severity of the disorder, a leper may have white patches, sores, or lose his or her fingers and toes. Lepers (and anyone who came in contact with one) were considered ceremonially unclean by Mosaic law (Lev. 13:3). Because of this, they were isolated from the community. Jesus viewed lepers differently than his fellow Jews. He frequently interacted with them, touched them, and healed them (see Mark 1:40–45). 2

 

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ENDNOTES:
1. 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), 807.
2. Chad Brand et al., eds., “Leprosy,” Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 1025.