Unfortunately, it happens too often. We find ourselves needing help, so we cry to the Lord; but not necessarily from a desire to know him. In fact, I have had many times where I strayed so far that the only knowledge of him I was experiencing was a faint voice calling me to repent. But I knew to come back I would have to engage in battle; the battle against the nature of my flesh and the destruction of those often followed paths of sin. But in all of this the Lord was my commander, and he was leading the way. He was pointing out the sin that he was ready to cleanse.
It’s interesting that in both the case of the Israelites initially coming into the Promised Land, and the remaining occupants of that land spoken of in Judges, that the land was not completely cleared by the Lord. To those Israelites coming in with Joshua, God said that if he emptied the land of all inhabitants it would be overrun by wild beasts. Likewise, to those in Judges, a remnant of nations remained to test them that they would learn to do battle. I find that when all is well, it’s not long before sin once again creeps in. Slowly, stealthily, looking for a place of weakness, and suddenly we realize that we’re under attack – by an enemy we let in! But these seem to be the parameters that cause us to thoroughly destroy a particular enemy. Not all sin is removed from us at once, if it were, we would have no parameters, no focus and no growth. We would go from rotten sinners to rotten saints – wild beasts would overrun the land. But the battle for the land (our soul) is followed by the blessing of expansion of our territories. As we gain knowledge and grow in faith, our souls are being transformed into a possession of the Lord.