Psalm 46:1, Daniel 3:12-–25

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said unto the king, “True, O king.” He answered and said, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

—Daniel 3:24-–25

Texas A&M University fans support their football team with great passion. Perhaps their passion is best exemplified by the tradition of the twelfth man. This tradition was recently ranked number three of all college football traditions. Kyle Field earns its nickname, “The Home of the Twelfth Man,” from this tradition of the team and the pride of many fans that stand throughout every game. When Coach Dana Bible was shorthanded in a game against Centre College in 1922, he asked former player E. King Gill to be his twelfth man in case his team needed him. Gill did not play in the game but stood on the sidelines throughout the game just in case. The Aggie fans never forgot the extra man who stood ready if needed.

The extra man on the Aggie sideline reminded me of Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego, the three Hebrew lads in the book of Daniel. They told King Nebuchadnezzar that they believed that God would save them from harm and, furthermore, that they would never bow down to worship his golden idol. The furious king ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual, a fire that was so hot that the men who heated the furnace died. The three lads were bound and cast into the furnace. Yet when the king and his court looked into the furnace, the boys were walking around, unharmed, with not one hair on their heads singed. Furthermore, they also had an extra man walking with them, a man who looked an awful lot like the Son of God. Many theological experts believe that the extra man was Jesus Christ.

When all was said and done, God proved to be stronger than Satan, as he always is. God stands by us and is our “ever present help in time of trouble” (Psalm 46:1). The Holy Spirit will be your extra man if you will allow it. How awesome it is that we can always turn to God when the odds are overwhelmingly against us.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for your presence and for the presence of Jesus Christ, the extra man, in my life. Most of all, thank you for the sacrifice that Jesus made for me on the cross. I give you the honor, the glory, and the praise. In Jesus’s name, amen.

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