I am sure if you asked one hundred people who King Bera is, there is a good chance that no one could tell you. The Bible is loaded with names of individuals and stories. It gives an account of King Bera in the 14th chapter of Genesis. The chapter begins with “Now war filled the land.” We’ll pick up this bit of history at the 14th chapter’s 8th verse:
“(8-13) But now the other army, that of the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Bela (Zoar), unsuccessfully attached Chedorlaomer and his allies as they were in the Sea Valley (four Kings against five). As it happened, the valley was full of asphalt pits. And as the army of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some slipped into the pits. And the remainder fled to the mountains. Then the victors plundered Sodom and Gomorrah and carried off all their wealth and food, and went on their homeward way, taking with them Lot, Abram’s nephew who lived in Sodom, and all he owned. One of the men who escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, who was camping among the oaks belonging to Mamre the Amorite (brother of Eshcol and Aner; Abram’s allies).
“(14-16) When Abram learned that Lot had been captured, he called together the men born into his household, 318 of them in all, and chased after the retiring army as far as Dan. That night he successfully attached them and pursued the fleeting army to Hobah, north of Damascus, and recovered everything, the loot that had been taken, his relative Lot, and all of Lot’s possessions, including the women and other captives.
“(17-20) As Abram returned from his stick against Chedorlaomer and the other kings at the Valley of Shaveh (later called King’s Valley), the king of Sodom came out to meet him, and Melchizedek, the King of Salem (Jerusalem), who was a priest of the God of Highest Heaven, brought him bread and wine. Then Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing:
“The blessing of the supreme God, Creator of heaven and earth, be upon you, Abram: blessed be God, who has delivered your enemies over to you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the spoils.
(21) The King of Sodom told him, “Just give me back my people who were captured; keep for yourself the booty stolen from my city.”
The lesson learned here is highlighted in the last verse of this story in which King Bera speaks words of wisdom. He understood that true wealth is in people, not in things. King Bera didn’t care about the gold, jewelry, food, or other valuables looted from the cities. He did care about the people. In his wisdom, he knew that people are far more valuable than things. This is a principle that all leaders must keep in perspective.
Vice President, Dodge Development, Inc.