Not all sheep are dumb, nor are they all "followers" as their overall reputation would have one believe.
Talk about intelligence, it is not by accident that there is a strain of sheep in Iceland that are known as "leader sheep." These sheep have a special God-given ability in that cold area of the world to lead a whole flock of sheep home under difficult conditions. Their exceptional ability to sense danger has saved many lives of both sheep and shepherds alike when blizzard conditions suddenly threaten as winter closes in sooner than expected. And some docile sheep over in Yorkshire, England, found a way to get over cattle grids by rolling on their backs! That really took brains to figure out since a sheep that lies down on its side will normally need additional help of some sort to get back on its feet—or it will not live long afterwards! But the sheep that rolled over the grids got up again! (Not bad for sheep with a reputation of playing follow the leader—and jump¬ing over a cliff if a lead sheep does so!)
Then there is the matter of the shape of their pupils. Again, it's a God-given, not-by-accident gift. Lambs, sheep and goats have horizontal slit-shapes, instead of the vertical as you see in the eyes of a cat. The narrower the pupil, the more accurate depth perception of peripheral vision functions in that plane. By giving sheep and goats the slit on the horizontal level, the animals have excellent wide-angle vision that gives them (almost without turning their heads,) the ability to spot predators behind them much sooner, even when they are quite a long distance away.
Their herd instinct fits right in when a possible attacker is seen. The sheep that have stayed together will then turn and face their enemy as "one." Certainly it gives an attacker pause for thought! Now even what happens at the time of the birth of a lamb has to do with the protection and care of the Creator for both the mother ewe as well as her baby. The afterbirth (the sac where the baby lamb or lambs grew inside the mother during the approximately 5 months of pregnancy) needs to be disposed of, so mamma sheep eats it. There are two excellent reasons why she does so. It's not by accident! First, it's odor would attract predators and since both mother and baby have no defense but to flee—and really neither run fast—the wise Maker of these gentle creatures put the instinct into the ewe to eat the afterbirth. But she is blessed as a result. You see, there are hormones in that afterbirth that, when she consumes them, stimulate her uterus to contract and return to its normal size! It's a well thought-out plan, don't you agree?
The mother ewe's first milk is very special, since it contains antibodies that are a must for a new born—but must be consumed within 16 hours of a lamb's birth all part of a not-by-accident God-given schedule. Another not-by-accident ability is the amazing tolerance a sheep or lamb has for pain. They do not show pain, because if they did they would be more vulnerable to predators, since their enemies look for the weak and injured. But there are those who can read the suf¬fering in the eyes of those gentle, enduring creatures. One is reminded of the Lord, the "Lamb of God," who chose the path of suffering because of His love for us. And it's awesome to realize we'll behold that "Lamb" one day soon!
"NOT BY ACCIDENT" (c) Juanita Kretschmar is used by permission and was first published in the book "Not By Accident 2" page 39.
Picture originally found here