The Parable of the Mansion Lights
Once a wise woman, prospered by the Lord, purchased a great estate. Rolling acres of property, with forests on the outskirts and beautiful gardens within, surround the stately mansion. The fair lady who inhabited the home desired the humble and lowly of heart to visit her estate to enjoy its beauty and refreshment.
However, the distant mountains surrounding the grounds cast large shadows on the property in the late afternoon, and each evening brought a great darkness to her home. To help travelers seeking her at night to find their way, she had lampposts placed along the road, at the gate, and down the driveway to her home. Many a wearied pilgrim was guided to her doors by the warmth and promise of the lights.
Yet the lady of the estate discovered another need for light on her property. Bands of thieves roamed the hills around her home, and the darkness emboldened them to come at night to steal from the gardens, cottage homes of the servants, and even occasionally from the house itself. So more lamps were placed around the mansion, casting their brightness far out upon the grounds, making it difficult for the thieves to sneak past the guards and draw near to the house.
Some of the welcomed travelers, enjoying their stay at the mansion home of their gracious hostess, wanted to enjoy the garden with its ponds, verandas, and fauna in the cool of the evening. The lady realized more lamps were needed. So all along the winding paths of the gardens torches were placed and lit at night. Visitors could walk safely along the paths, stopping to enjoy refreshments under the warming glow of candles in the gazebos.
Throughout the land, the gracious woman's house was sought after by the wise of heart.
In the Scriptures, the law of the Lord is often referred to as a light. Psalm 1119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." The lights in the parable above illustrate what is traditionally known as the three uses of the law. Additionally, the Scriptures portray the one who follows God's law in its proper applications as a wise man going to the home of a woman where protection and nourishment are found (Prov. 9:1-6).
The first use of the law is as a tutor to lead us to Christ. Just as the lampposts took wearied and humble travelers to the safety of the mansion estate, so the law brings the knowledge of sin and need for Christ to sinners when proclaimed.
Also, just as the lights around the house in the parable kept away the thieves, so the second use of the law is to restrain evil. The teaching of God's holiness and the threat of the judgments found in the law cause people to fear. The law keeps them from doing evil activities that a greater cover of darkness would encourage.
Finally, the last use of the law is as a guide to believers. This truth is represented in the parable by the lights along the paths at night. We show our love for God, and enjoy His presence and blessings, by keeping His commandments and walking in His ways (Ex. 20:6; John 14:15).
Perhaps this simple parable helps you see that the proper uses of God's law are not to be all that confusing. For as the Psalmist says, "The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple" (Ps. 119:130).