Grasping the powerful truth behind this verse will enable us to understand why the Lord allows intense spiritual warfare throughout our lives. God not only allows our battles but he has a glorious purpose for them.
So, what are the “spoils won in battle”? The first mention of spoils in the Bible occurs in Genesis 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 all their provisions, and … they also took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son” (Genesis 14:11-12).
When Abram learned his nephew had been taken captive, he gathered his army and overtook the invaders and brought back Lot and his goods (see 14:15-16). As Abram was leading his victorious procession of joyful people home, he met Melchizedek, the king of Salem, and felt led to tithe of his plunder to him (see 14:20). Why would Abram tithe to this king? Because Melchizedek was “the priest of God Most High” and Abram wanted to help maintain the ministry of God’s house.
Imagine the scene just a few hours before Abram overcame those invaders. Satan must have been gloating. His armies had just carried away the entire population of two cities, including the only godly man who lived there. Satan took Lot as a “spoil” along with vast herds of cattle, wagons full of food and clothing, and chests full of gold, silver, and precious stones. Abram’s small army soundly defeated the confederated army, freed the people, and recovered a massive caravan of spoils. The spoils that belonged to Sodom and Gomorrah were returned to them but the spoils of the invaders were kept by Abram. And he promptly gave a portion into the work of the Lord
Here is the principle God wants us to lay hold of: Our Lord is interested in much more than making us victors. He wants to give us spoils, goods, spiritual riches from our warfare. This is what Paul refers to when he says, “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). We’re to emerge from our battle with resources we can use to bless and maintain the house of God.