Isn’t it interesting how some of the most evil people in the world have untold wealth and riches? How does it happen that these wicked men and women hate God, yet are blessed with abundance beyond reckoning? That would seem to contradict how God works. His Word makes it clear that it’s those who love and obey Him who are the ones He favors and pours out His goodness upon, not just a good measure, but overflowing (Luke 6:38). And evil men certainly aren’t people who fit that definition of giving to the work of the Lord! What gives?
There are two spiritual forces at work in this dynamic. One is God, who is the overarching force, and the One who allows all things to happen. The other is Satan, who comes under God’s jurisdiction and authority, only doing what God permits. We see this in the book of Job, where Satan has to ask God for permission to rain down the many disasters upon Job that he does. Likewise, Satan had to ask the Lord for permission to sift Peter like wheat. So, anything Satan does is that which God sanctions.
Very wealthy people who hate God often have a family heritage that encourages this attitude. For instance, Bill Gates’ father was a noted eugenicist. The father of George Soros may have influenced his disdain for the Jews as a result of the family trying to escape anti-Semitic behaviors in Germany. Warren Buffett’s father, although conservative by all accounts, had no use for Israel. This would presumably have influenced Warren’s attitude toward the God of the Bible.
Gates and Soros are more well known for using their wealth to counter that which is of God. Buffett, although more low key in that regard, also funds organizations and activities that work against God’s interests.
So, what is it with people like this? They have a desire to thwart God’s intentions with their wealth. How do they get so wealthy if God hasn’t blessed them?
I think the answer is that God permits Satan to choose whom he will to raise up for his evil purposes. Remember, God has an overarching plan. Ultimately God will judge the earth. He will judge Israel and the wicked unbelievers in the world through the Tribulation. Because of what will occur during this most horrible of seven years, technology and other forces must be in place. It takes money to make certain things happen. I think what likely occurs is that Satan chooses certain people based on the characteristics he’s looking for in them, their family influences, etc. Once he identifies a prospect, Satan comes to God and requests His permission to work actively in the person’s life. God knows the heart of this individual and his eventual fate. From His foreknowledge, He grants Satan the ability to arrange circumstances around his man so that he prospers. Along the way Satan feeds this secular individual the anti-God rhetoric necessary for him to hate the Lord. He pours significant amounts of money into those areas useful for Satan’s purposes. Even in that, God gives this person every opportunity to reject the temptations Satan has put in his path. But, Satan’s lures are too great. The riches are too enticing. The man’s sin nature, fueled by what Satan does to beguile him, are too much; and God allows the man to be led down the path of destruction.
At the end of all this, Satan’s man may have built a life of absolute luxury and ease. He may have contributed significant amounts of money to causes that elevate man over God. More than that, he may have worked diligently to undermine God’s authority in many spheres of life. But, there is a great consequence for this person in his existence far from the Lord.
David touched on this in Psalm 28:5, where he stated:
Because they do not regard the works of the Lord
or the work of his hands,
he will tear them down and build them up no more.
A point is reached in each of these men’s lives whereby God will tear them down. It might be in the course of their years on earth. There are many accounts of those who hated God and came to a wretched end, penniless and miserable after having enjoyed great wealth. Or, such men could go down to the grave in all their riches, yet have nothing that they bring with them. Because they have worked in opposition to God during their lifetimes, He will bring them to account for eternity.
Although we encounter such men typically from afar and hear of their God-despising actions, even they are loved by God. We well know that God wants none to perish, but all to have eternal life with Him. The sad fact of the matter, however, is that through the choices many men make, unless God supernaturally intervenes in their lives – such as He did with the Apostle Paul – they will live far from the Lord and die in their sins. They will have lived well during their time on earth, but beyond that they will suffer unspeakable agony.
It’s hard to pray for people like this. We have no sympathy for them because of what they do in opposition to God – and to us. But, God instructs us to pray for their eternal souls. Perhaps, God will have mercy on one of these men who hate Him and will do a miracle in his life. Wouldn’t it be terrific to see such a high-profile person turn to the Lord and proclaim the Name of Jesus?