In the 26th chapter of I Chronicles, I found an intriguing verse: “From spoil won in battles they dedicated gifts to maintain the house of the Lord” (I Chronicle 26:27). This verse gives us a profound, life-changing truth. It’s talking about spoils that can only be won in battle. And once these spoils are won, they are dedicated to the building up of God’s house.
What I’m getting at is that if we can grasp the powerful truth behind this verse, we will understand what the Lord can do during our intense spiritual warfare throughout our lives. Many Christians think that once they are saved, their struggles are over; they are now bound for that “cozy bed of roses;” that life will be smooth sailing from here, on out . . . But I’m hoping you have learned that nothing could be further from the truth. Not only does God allow our battles, but he also has a glorious purpose for them.
Oh, I know you don’t like to hear things like that, but since you experience these battles, you should learn to make the best of them. (Well, it beats just complaining about them, doesn’t it?)
When we talk about these, “spoils of warfare,” what do we mean? Well, spoils are plunder, loot, goods taken in battle by the victors. The Bible first mentions spoils in Genesis 14, when a confederation of kings invaded Sodom and Gomorrah. These invaders captured the inhabitants and plundered their possessions: “They took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah . . . And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son” (Genesis 14:11–12).
Well when Abram learned that his nephew Lot was taken captive, he gathered his 318-man army of servants and pursued the enemy kings. Scripture says he overtook the invaders and “divided up his troops, attacked from all sides, and won a great victory . . . and brought back his nephew Lot, together with Lot’s possessions and the women and everyone else who had been captured” (Genesis 14:15–16).
Picture victorious Abram here. He was leading a long procession of joyful people, and wagons piled high with goods of all kinds. And along the way, he met Melchizedek, king of Salem (we will discuss him later). Scripture tells us Abram was moved to tithe to this king from all his plunder (see Genesis 14:20). Then the writer of Hebrews says, “Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder!” (Hebrews 7:4).
Here’s what I want you to think about: Our Lord is interested in a whole bunch more than making us be victors. He desires to give us spoils, goods, spiritual riches from our warfare. We are to emerge from battle with wagon loads of resources. (Hallelujah! That’s something you like to hear about, isn’t it?). This is what Paul refers to when he says, “We are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
David had a reverant attitude toward spoils taken in warfare. We see it in a decree he made near the end of his life. David had just appointed his son Solomon to follow him on Israel’s throne, and now he gathered the nation’s leaders together to set up a divine order for sustaining God’s house. What resources would they use for this holy work? “From spoil won in battles they dedicated gifts to maintain the house of the Lord” (I Chronicles 26:27).
Let me set the scene. After every military victory, David took back spoils and stockpiled them in abundance: gold, silver, brass, timber, money too large to count. And he had one purpose in mind: to use these spoils as resources for building the temple.
When Scripture talks about maintaining the temple, the original Hebrew means “to repair the house, to strengthen and consolidate what was built.” These resources were supposed to maintain the temple’s original splendor.
Where is God’s temple today? Oh, you know that. It’s made up of his people — you, me, His Church worldwide. According to Paul, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. And, like ancient Israel, our Lord still maintains his temple through spoils gained in battle. That’s why our trials are meant for more than just our survival. Through every battle, God is laying aside riches, resources, wealth for us. He’s stockpiling a whole treasury of goods from our warfare. And those spoils are dedicated to building up and maintaining his body, the church of Jesus Christ.
Think about it: For years after Solomon built the temple, it was maintained by the spoils taken in past wars. God’s house remained vibrant and alive because his people had emerged from every conflict, not just victorious, but rich in resources. We find this principle of “supply through battle” throughout God’s Word.
So let’s put this into our own lives. I’m pretty confident that each of us has experienced spiritual battles in our lives — some of us continue fighting in that warfare. The only thing I can tell you is that you WILL win. I don’t know how or when, but you WILL win. And, when you do win, you can bask in the spoils of that warfare. I am hoping you cherish those spoils and continue to establish your faith.