Have you ever wondered why God didn’t set Jacob straight when he thought putting strips of poplar and almond branches in the water trough would cause perfectly white mating sheep to produce striped and spotted lambs? Does it surprise you that God increased Jacob’s flock in spite of this ridiculous practice?
I remember a well-meaning Sunday School teacher saying the branches in the water frightened the sheep, and the trauma from that shock caused the offspring to be spotted and striped. Interesting.
But does the Bible actually teach folklore or hocus-pocus? Of course not!
I went to Google and found several different theories about this. But most of the articles I read agreed to some degree. Here’s what I found:
First, let me ask you this: How many of you take herbal supplements? Have you ever eaten a handful of almonds for their health benefits? I think Jacob, through God’s leading, might be the first recorded herbalist. (If you want to know more about it let me direct you to answersingenesis.org; Jacob’s Odd “Breeding Program” of Genesis 30. I found that article very interesting).
However, setting all the science aside, the best explanation of Jacob’s breeding program is found in 31:6-12 when he describes his vision. The bottom line is…
it’s a miracle.
It was God who caused the increase. It was God who strengthened the sheep and produced striped and spotted offspring. God did that, with or without the medicinal benefits of the branches.
God has given us doctors, medicines, even herbs to aid in healing. But do not be misled, healing is a miracle. It is of God, not science, not medicine, not hocus-pocus. If God uses the science He created to bring about healing – it’s a miracle! If God heals apart from any scientific explanation – it’s a miracle!
We can spend all day trying to figure out the “why and how” of Genesis 30. I’ve spent too much time on it today, myself, when I firmly believe God just wants us to see Him in this passage. Period. God could take two perfectly white animals whose genetics would naturally produce perfectly white offspring, and create a spotted lamb in order to bless Jacob. That’s the bottom line.
It’s a miracle!