Some Christians (reformed belivers) actually think that God created wickedness, and that he has made some people into sinners just so he can punish them on the day of evil. That is not the God of the Bible. The NKJV renders it:
Prov. 16:4 The Lord has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of
At first glance perhaps this verse seem to contradict other verses:
The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalms 145:9
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
In Proverbs 16:4 the phrase, ”things for Himself” is a translation from the Hebrew word maaneh which means ”to answer to”, or ”to give a reply to”, and what is being said in this verse is, ”The Lord hath made all things to answer or give an account unto him”. Sinners eventually reap what they sow.
This makes more sense and goes together well with the rest of the Bible where we can see that God EXPECTS us to be obedient to His commands. We would end up with huge contradiction if we read Proverbs 16:4 as though God creates people to be wicked.
The day of evil
”The day of evil” is indeed the day of doom. That is when all must give account onto God.
Deut. 31:29 For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.
2 Sam. 3:39 And I am this day weak, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah be too hard for me: the Lord shall reward the doer of evil according to his wickedness.
Jer. 17:18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.
More verses from Proverbs 16
The context of Proverbs 16:4 is here below and we can read that a proud heart is an ABOMINATION to God, so clearly He wouldn’t predestine people to be wicked. Why would God even consider forcing us to perform abominable things before His eyes and then turn around and punish us for it?
Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. [The LORD hath made all things to give account unto Him: yea, even the wicked, who think they are off His hook, have to give an account unto Him on the day of judgment.]5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.6By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
The text tells us that people can depart from evil if they FEAR God, which is something THEY must do. God created all things to give an account unto Him, even those who think they are getting away with their sins now. God sets up His creation where good is (eventually) rewarded, and evil is (eventually) punished. In this sense the “purpose” for the wicked is found in the “day of trouble” that shall come upon them. The verb translated in the NRSV as “made” (paw-al’) can be translated as “works out”.