One example of the later is Alexander the Great, the most successful conqueror in history. Alexander’s personal life was less than exemplary. His royal upbringing, his military successes and his personal shortcomings made him act with cruelty against his enemies and indulge in many pleasures of the flesh with considerable frequency.
Nobody has gained the right to be a vehicle for God’s willi . The ones He chooses to accomplish His plans are sometimes great saints, but at times He also chooses persons we might consider unworthy to be the venues of His Divine Wisdom.
This background contrasts with the unexpected benevolence he showed when Jerusalem surrendered to him. Alexander’s conquest of Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Bible, but Titus Flavius Josephus, the famous Roman-Jew historian of the first century, narrates this eventii . After the first two great victories of Alexander’s campaign to conquer the Persian Empire at Garnicum and Issus, he requested the Jews to provide provisions for his army. The Jewish High Priest Jaddua rejected his request to keep a promise he had made to the Persian king Darius. After Alexander conquered Tyre, he marched towards Jerusalem to revenge its disobedience. The frightened people of Jerusalem made supplications and sacrifices to God while the High Priest was in agony thinking of the future that awaited them. God, in a dream, told Jaddua not be afraid, but to go out in procession and receive Alexander with joy and honors. The people followed the High Priest, as he commanded. He was attired in his ceremonial clothes, including the gold pate in which the name of God was inscribed. At the sight of the plate, Alexander approached the priest, kneeled, and adored the name of God. His second in command, Parmenion questioned why he had adored the Jewish priest. Alexander explained he had not adored the priest, but God, who had bestowed the high honor in that man. Alexander continued that he had already seen the priest in a dream when he was considering invading the Persian Empire and how the dream had encouraged Alexander not to delay the expedition, for his army would thrive for being under Divine protection. The day after his entrance in Jerusalem, a ceremony was held to honor the victorious general, there the passage of the Book of Daniel that says that a Greek would destroy the Empire of the Persians was readiii. Alexander was sure the passage referred to him. It seems God had chosen him to accomplish something important, notwithstanding his major flaws.
I often think that we are living a similar situation. The Russian President Vladimir Putin is far from having lived a true Christian life. He was born under the communist system and was educated by that system. He became a lawyer from a Bolshevik university and married under their laws. He was an officer of the Russian secret service, the KGB, where he worked to maintain the system by heading counterintelligence activities in Eastern Germany. He has never discredited the methods used by the KGB.
Nobody has gained the right to be a vehicle for God’s will. Rom 11, 33-36
He was a valuable element of the system and learned to climb the political ladder at the time communism and the Soviet Union disintegrated. He became a close adviser of Boris Yeltsin, a member of the soviet politburo, who knew when to resign to that political post and later become the first president of the re-established Russian Federation. Putin’s qualifications and efficiency made him the naturel choice to inherit the power from Yeltsin in 2012. He has been the unequivocal leader of Russia fo