Rehoboam. Shechem. Jeroboam. Adoniram. Seriously, I was never great with phonics to begin with, but I find myself going a bit cross-eyed (and brained) with all these names I can barely pronounce. So finally we get a story with something I can focus on. "Man of God." Perfect. I got this. Man of God represents the anonymity of us all. We are all men, and women, of God, each chosen to be powerful representations of the Kingdom. We might not all be nomads, speaking prophetic words against idolatry and sinful nature, but we all have purpose in Christ. Because, you see, one does not need to have fame and notoriety (or an unpronounceable name) to be used in significant ways for God.
And so we read about a "man of God." A man that spoke truth without concern of consequence. An individual that refused to be tempted (although was still easily fooled) to go against God's instructions. A person so full of grace that without hesitation, would reach out and heal those who were wishing him immediate harm. A man so used by God that his prophecy would prove true and usher in the true power of God before him.
A powerful man of God. Yet..still just a man.
And all it took for him to turn his back on God's instruction was a word from someone whom he identified with and quickly put his trust in. An elder, a fellow prophet (so he was told), a spiritual experience and word from the Lord. Despite his clear direction from God, he allowed whom he thought was a fellow believer to turn him around and push him towards his untimely demise.
In all my years of study, one of the most circled, highlighted and underlined phrases has to be those of ultimate inclusion. "All," "everyone," "no one" and "every." Words that leave no room for addition or subtraction. These come from verses that unify us all. "No one will enter the Kingdom of God..." "For all have sinned..." "Everyone who hates his brother..." It puts us all (that means you, no matter how you want to slice and dice it), on equal footing, with equal responsibility, equal reward and equal consequences.
And we see that in full bloom here in 1 Kings 13 as "man of God" rejects his God given instruction, for a contradicting message from God (which never happens, for those of you keeping score at home) and faces the ultimate end that every single one of us will face for Godly disobedience. Maybe not immediate death in this life (at the hand of a lion on the side of the road, no less) but death eternal.
So the next time I'm feeling all high and mighty at how God is using me in the moment, I hope I'll quickly return to this passage as a reminder that, after all, I'm just a man.