And recite (O Muhammad SAW) to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Ayat but he threw them away, so Shaitan (Satan) followed him up, and he became of those who went astray. TMQ 7.175
The ayah describes a man (some scholars say his name was Bal’am ) who received Allah swt’s Hikmah and he knew that it was the Truth. But still he chose to throw them away. He knew that Allah swt was the most supreme who will reward or punish as He wills, and yet this man knowingly chose to be on the wrong side. He is different from someone who denies that Allah swt exists or has sent a Messenger to warn mankind. They are aetheists who do not believe in any God. Mushriks believe in multiple gods, one the creator and another which can be themselves also. But it is strange to find a man who accepts the truth and rejects it.
And had We willed, We would surely have elevated him therewith but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desire.
It was greed, lust, desire, which made this man throw away truth. He wanted the worldly pleasures, and he was ready to forsake the truth for it. It is not actually fear of loosing something in this world that motivates. But it is the desire to acquire something from the duniya that does this. When sticking to the truth hinders material pleasure, who gets sacrificed first? Truth. When economic interests clash with Allah swt’s revelation, same thing happens although we know the truth has come from Allah swt.
So his description is the description of a dog: if you drive him away, he lolls his tongue out, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls his tongue out. Such is the description of the people who reject Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.). So relate the stories, perhaps they may reflect. TMQ 7.176
Such people are like dogs. Whether we leave these dogs alone or drive them away they will keep lolling their tongues out for getting something. Dogs don’t see any shame or dishonor in this humiliation. All they care about is a petty bone or a stick. Men are like that who are blind for acquiring material benefits so much so that they sacrifice Allah swt’s ayahs for those “bones and sticks”, like dogs.