Admittedly, I’ve written about this topic before. Yet, living as a part of a magnificent church flock, I continue to find some of the intricacies to sheep eyesight to be most fascinating. The reason sheep need a shepherd is that their eyesight is a problem. Due to the eye formation from early lambhood, they are not able to see forward clearly.
The main difference between human and sheep eyes is the ability to focus. Humans are able. Sheep? Not so much.
Sheep lack a human element known as the fovea. Too, their eyes are located higher as well as more to the side of the head where ours is frontal as well as a bit more centered. Sheep are advantaged in peripheral vision while humans have increased depth perception.
A sheep is able to see best when it lowers its head; as in grazing. While nibbling on the grass it possesses a range of 300 degrees vision as it literally keeps an eye out for predators from the side as well as from behind while enjoying its noon-day graze.
Due to such eyesight structure, as sheep tend to be on the move, they peer more into where they’ve been than where they are going. This would explain why ditches and steep slopes are a perpetual threat to this woolly animal.
It is no mystery as to why the Bible references Jesus as the Chief Shepherd and his followers (us) as the sheep. We sheep tend to make forward effort by perpetually looking behind to see where we’ve been. How it went back there tends to be our guide as to where we are going. In Sheep-lingo, this makes sense; even when Shepherd voice would oppose.
This concept is a challenge for us for we (with our sheep eyes) insist that we see quite well. Yet, our true and godly vision is seriously dependent upon that of the Chief Shepherd for he is the one who knows how to rescue and protect the flock.
May we, the church, remain devoted to following the Shepherd’s lead for his ways are higher while many of our ways are proposed due to what we’ve seen while looking back. I love the thought. I’m grateful Jesus sees what we can experience in the future.
Due to our backward eyesight, God gave us a new ability to see.
It’s called faith. We are expected to walk by faith and not by… not by sight. Now we are reminded a bit more as to why.