Nehemiah: Studies on Leadership | Week 03

inVite: The Invisible Hand

In the writings of the Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith, the image of an invisible hand is used to describe the capitalistic interplay of the individual with larger society. The harder an individual works for self-motivated interests, the larger the economy as a whole benefits. This is one of the underlying principles of laissez-faire economics by which modern societies are generally based on. Though the complexity of economics makes causes and effects appear to be random, Smith argues that “it” essentially works, attributing it to an invisible hand.

Correspondingly, the complexity of life overshadows the complexity of economics. And if an invisible hand is used to describe economic applications, a divine hand indeed can be used to describe spiritual ones, especially if things just “happen” to work out.

Nehemiah references a divine hand in 2:8 and 18. In both cases, the hand is described as good and utilizes the power of the king. Both good and powerful, it represents the providence of God working out His will in our lives. It takes a certain discernment to view the out-workings of heaven in everyday situations, whether they be secular or spiritual. This hand represents the all-seeing omniscience of God being able to do anything in His omnipotence. Though He is not blatantly present in the passage, His workings can be seen through special circumstances. Likewise though He may not seem blatantly apparent in our lives, His workings can be seen through spiritual discernment and the unusual blessings in our lives.