In Hebrew, the phrase is beit ab (pronounced “bait av”). Beit means “house.” Ab means “father.” A derivative of ab is abba (father).
Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2).
These words from Scripture, along with their cultural context, give us a glimpse of life with our God. It is a relationship that the Father longs to have. It is a relationship that was born at the creation of humans. It is what life in the world-to-come will be like. It is a portal into life everlasting in the kingdom of God.
To have beit ab, several things must be in place.
The father is to be the singular caretaker of the beit ab family. The father is the patriarch. All of the household’s possessions are his. But that does not make him a greedy, self-centered person. Along with owning all of the family possessions, the father is the family caretaker. He is solely responsible to insure that every member of the family is enfolded and that the needs of every individual are provided for.
The father insures that there is a roof over each head. The father insures that there is food and drink for each person. The father insures that each person is clothed. The father also insures that each person contributes to the household. The buck stops with the father, but every other member of the household has duties and roles as well.
Beit ab is a household community with a singular mission and purpose: to provide for the needs of each member of beit ab.
Eden was a perfect beit ab. God provided the first humans with all of their needs. He provided a garden for food, he provided shelter, and he provided companionship. When beit ab was perfect, the Father walked and talked with his human children.
Then sin happened. For reasons only known to the Father, God allowed and still allows every human to make choices, including destructive ones. From the beginning of time, Adam and Eve were permitted the choice of living in a perfect beit ab or going their own way. Tragically, they chose to break beit ab.
The biblical story and our story today are stories of people called to be in beit ab with the Father—choosing his way or our own way—and being a part of his story. God’s kingdom mission, and the mission for all who are called to lead, is to tell his story and to restore beit ab to a broken world.
Fully restoring beit ab will not happen until the Son of God returns in glory and all things are made new. But we are not called to sit on our hands and wait for his coming. We are to advance his kingdom now. We are to be like Jesus.
Before he left earth two thousand years ago, Jesus told us what he would be doing. He is at the Father’s right hand, the place of honor, preparing a place. He described the presence with God as a beit ab, a place that is a house (beit) with rooms for each of us (under the Father’s care, protection, and provision). The beit ab that Jesus describes is a perfect place. It is a place where Eden is restored and where each of us lives in perfect shalom under the Father’s loving care.
What is the mission and task of those on earth who are called to lead? Bring those entrusted to our care into beit ab, where they will know the Father, believe in his Son, and find enfolding into God’s community of believers.
Devotionals are written by Jeff Blamer, Vice President of Member Services