In 2007 the acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell played his 3.5-million-dollar violin in a Washington DC Metro Station for 45 minutes and almost everyone simply passed by—everyone except one woman who recognized him from the sold-out concert hall in which he had played a few nights before.
Maybe we’re surrounded by music and Jesus is playing all the time, but until we have ears to hear, and hearts to know, we remain alone in silence: dead.
In 1 Kings 3 God speaks to Solomon in a dream at one of the “high places” in Gibeon. He tells Solomon to ask whatever he will. Solomon asks for “Wisdom and Knowledge” (1 Chronicles 1:10), which is a “hearing heart to judge [the Lord’s] people,” that he may “discern between good and evil (1 Kings 3:9).”
Solomon asks for the “Knowledge of Good and Evil.” That’s fascinating. The last time we took “knowledge of Good and evil” things just didn’t go so well. Furthermore, if we took it, don’t we still have it . . . And yet, “little children” don’t have it (Deut. 1:39),” but will have it and, like us, also die.
Solomon asks for the “Knowledge of Good and Evil!” And God does not cast him into hell, but instead blesses him with fame and fortune and sends him back to Mt. Zion—the location of Eden—where he stands before the Ark and receives Wisdom from God who manifests between the Cherubim—the Cherubim who guard the way to the Tree of Life.
What would fruit from a “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,” look like? Jesus said that God alone is Good; Jesus is God in flesh hanging on a tree (xulon) in a garden named Calvary on the side of Mt. Zion.
What would a “Tree of Life” look like? Jesus said, “I am the Life.” Paul tells us that he has also become “our Wisdom.” John tells us that he is “the Logos” by whom all things are created. Solomon reveals that God Creates all things with Wisdom, which is more than a dead idea, but something like living knowledge—the Word of God. “Wisdom… She is a tree (ets) of life,” writes Solomon (Prov. 3:18).
The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life looked the same, grew in the same spot in the middle of the garden, and the fruit on both trees must’ve looked like Jesus—the Logos, the rhythm to the manifestation of the song that is the dance we call creation.
If we were to take his life on a cross (xulon in Greek, ets in Hebrew), it would make sense that the music would stop, everything would die, and we would each find ourselves alone in silence. But if he were to rise like a seed in broken and dirty soil, the music would start, and everything would live. It all happens in the concert hall on Mt. Zion, in your heart, and at the edge of eternity and time.
Solomon asks for Wisdom, gets Wisdom, and somehow becomes Wisdom in flesh, the Prince of Peace. “Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him (1 Kings 3:16).” They each claim that the other accidentally killed her own baby and, in the night, switched the dead baby with the living baby. Each prostitute, from “the same house” says “The living baby is mine!” Solomon asks for a sword to cut the baby in half. The honest prostitute cries out “Give the baby to the other woman and do not put him to death.” The Lying prostitute says, “Divide him, and he will belong to neither of us.” Solomon gives the baby to the first woman, saying “By no means put him to death; she is his mother.”
“All Israel… perceived that the Wisdom of God was in Solomon to do Justice (I Kings 3:28).”
What is justice? To me, “Lady Justice”—depicted in statues and murals in most courthouses—looks like a harlot. She’s super attractive, even sexy, but she’s holding scales in her hand (the ancient equivalent of a cash register). She’s also holding a sword and wearing a blindfold; she makes judgments about people but can’t see people. Lady Justice is the image of the Roman goddess, Justitia—a violent blind hooker. And she means, “You get what you pay for.”
But in our faith, Justice means, “You don’t get what you pay for; you get absolute Grace—he is the Wisdom of God and the Life of God, the judgment of God revealed on a tree.” He is the Good Judgment of God. He is Justice. And he is our helper, our husband.
Why would we depict Justice as a violent blind harlot?
Well, idolators always make gods in their own image.
Look at the man hanging on the tree in the garden. He sees everyone. He forgives everyone he sees. He makes no calculations—we take everything, and he gives everything. Now look at the crowd gathered below. Where is the harlot? Who is the great harlot who rides the beast? And where is Wisdom? And Who (not “what”) is wisdom? He is our husband.
In the beginning, we each took his Life, the music stopped, and everything died.
Each one of us, and all of us, is and are a violent blind harlot, but more than “a harlot,” each one of us is two harlots in one house.
The lying harlot is raping the Judge. She’s using the Truth who sits on the throne to create her own reality. She’s sacrificing Truth to save herself—the idol. And so, she’s also sacrificing a baby, who is already dead to her—she isn’t trying to save the baby, but her ego. The way she sees the judge is the way she sees the baby, which is the way she sees all things. She is alone in silence in a world that has died.
The honest harlot is also a harlot. But within her own womb, like a dead seed that has come to life in broken dirty soil, she has been encountered by life and given birth to life—not simply her life, but another life to whom she is now forever connected. And so, she’s willing to sacrifice herself to save that life. And because she’s willing to sacrifice herself, she surrenders to the judgment from the throne. And, in the moment of surrender, as she yells “Give the baby to the other woman,” she loses her life and finds her life, becoming who it is that she truly is and always was—not a harlot, but a bride and a mother. She knows because she is known, and everything begins to live.
Wisdom is her Husband. Wisdom is the Judge. Wisdom is the baby (both babies). And Wisdom is born of you, Bride of Christ. If you want Wisdom, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Good, Gentleness, Faith, and Self-control, you can’t take them and make them, you must give birth to them, which means you must freely surrender to Him.
At the tree, we took his life, and everything died. But when he—the Seed in the fruit—brings us back to the tree, we see that what we took has always been given. The lying harlot takes fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, but the Bride is being fed by Wisdom from the Tree of Life.
Wisdom is the Logos who is the Logic behind all reality like the rhythm to a song. One day you’ll hear all creation singing and everything you do will manifest the song as a dance, for at the tree in the garden of your own soul, God has given you a heart that hears: “You are my beloved.”
When we worship before the throne, the lying harlot is silenced, and the Bride begins to hear. A child is born and placed in a manger that is your lonely old self . . . no longer alone.