Possessing the Promises of God
July 9-10, 2022
After God called Israel out of Egypt, He brought them to Mount Sinai. Now, this is a monumental place in the history of Israel. This is the place where Moses first met God when God revealed Himself to Moses out of the burning bush. It was here that He revealed that He was the great I Am, and all that it means is so powerful to understand. He told Moses that when you bring those people out of Egypt, you will bring them back to this very mountain and that is where we are now in this chapter.
One of the things I mentioned Wednesday, by the way, it's really amazing is that when they came to Mount Sinai, Israel met God. They heard His voice. He revealed Himself to them and there was this amazing scene where 70 elders, along with Moses and Aaron came to Mount Sinai and they saw God. You look it up. It's an amazing scene that unfolds. There the throne of God was, sitting on a sea of glass, purest crystal, blue as sapphire, clear as the sky, they ate and they drank with God. This is amazing.
God is revealing that He wants relationship to them. He wants them to draw near. He says, "I bear you on eagle's wings and I bring you to myself," because they've been in oppression and slavery all those years. They need to know how to live. They need to know how to be blessed. They need to be transformed.
Hey, living in oppression and slavery does something tragic to the soul. It breaks the heart. It breaks the soul. They've got to learn to walk in the ways of God. He gives them not only the love, Moses, the Word of God, He gives them these promises that they would take hold of, to possess the promises, but in the how to walk, how to be a man or a woman of character, uncommon kindness.
Let's see, there were things about justice and righteousness, how to respect one another, there were rules for charity, there were rules for generosity, there were rules for the kind treatment of animals, there was rules for the forgiveness of debt, instruction and how to be men and women of heart and character. In fact, you see that earlier in the chapter where He says, "If you meet your enemy's ox or donkey wandering away," in other words, lost in the wilderness or something, but notice, it's your enemy's ox or your enemy's donkey that you see wandering away. He said, "You will return it to him." You go and get that wandering away donkey or ox, and you bring it back to your enemy.
Now, that's not common. That's not the way a lot of people are. Even today, that's not the way a lot of people are. "Oh, they see, oh, that's the ox or donkey of my enemy? Ha, let him go, that's what he deserves that little stinker, let him go." That's the way a lot of people are. God says, no, you go and get that donkey or ox and you bring it back.
Then He says, "If you see the donkey of someone who hates you lying helpless under a heavy load, don't leave it. You will help him, you will release it." In other words, uncommon kindness. Oh, what character they would have if they would live by such things. What's interesting is that Jesus said something very similar to the church. Jesus said this, "I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." That's uncommon. That's not the way people are, but you're in the Kingdom of God now and different principles apply. I'm trying to transform you into the nature.
Notice He says this, "Pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father, who is in heaven." You will be like God. Jesus on the cross says, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." This is kindness and grace. Now, interestingly, some of the rules have been applied in such a way as to what I call, make legalism out of them. For example, in verse 19, there's a rule. "You are not to boil a kid in the milk of his mother." Now, a kid of a goat. The idea here is, there's just something cruel about the idea of boiling the kid of a goat in the milk of his mother. That's just a cruel thing and this is what the pagans would do and He wants them to be different, of course.
What that translated into in modern times is what I call legalism because at dinnertime in Israel today, when you go to Israel and you want to have dinner, you cannot have milk of any kind on the off chance that you might eat the meat rather of something that was cooked with that milk, maybe of his mother. On the off chance and we don't want even the slightest possibility so we don't serve milk with meat at all. You cannot even get milk of any kind or cheese or anything even with chicken. Last I heard, you can't get milk from a chicken, but that's the way the rule is and it's turned into legalism.
Now, God wanted these for the character of the thing, for the transforming character, uncommon kindness, but then He give them promises. Promises to take hold of. To strengthen your faith, do you see what God wants to do in your life? The promises of God are to be taken hold of. Possess the promises of God. Here we are in Exodus 23, we're going to begin in verse 20. Notice these promises and there are many more, but notice these verse 20, "Behold, I'm going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way to bring you into that place, which I have prepared."
He's talking about the land of promise. "Be on your guard before him, my angel, obey his voice, do not be rebellious toward him. He will not pardon your transgression because my name is in him, but if you will truly obey his voice and do all I say," notice "I will be an enemy to your enemies. I will be an adversary to your adversaries."
That reminds me, of course, of that famous blessing that God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 12, "I will bless those who bless you. I will curse those who curse you." I believe that is still true today as it was then. Those who bless Israel will be blessed. That should inform our foreign policy as a nation because that is as true today as when it was spoken. Amen. Absolutely, let's give the Lord praise.
He says, "You listen to his voice. I will be an enemy to your enemies, adversary to your adversaries." Verse 23, "For my angel will go before you and will bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites, Jebusites, and I will completely destroy them. You will not worship their gods. You will not serve them nor do according to their deeds. Don't be like the people in whose land you will then go." Don't be like the world, we could say today. Be uncommon, be different. Have the character and nature of God and the blessing and the promises of God are yours.
Don't worship them. Don't serve them, but verse 25, "You will serve the Lord, your God, and He will bless your bread. He will bless your water. I will remove sickness from your midst. There will be no one miscarrying or barren in your land. I will fulfill the number of your days. I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come and I will make your enemies turn their backs to you" because they're running away from you. "I will send hornets ahead of you that they may drive out the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites before you."
Notice verse 29, "I will not drive them out before you in a single year that the land may not become desolate and the beasts of the fields become too numerous for you, but I will drive them out before you little by little until you become fruitful. Until you increase your capacity and until you take possession of the land and I will fix your boundary." Would you notice these boundary points? This is amazing.
From the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, that's the Mediterranean, from the wilderness to the river Euphrates, which is way to the east, and I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand and you will drive them out before you. Make no covenant with them or with their gods. They will not live in your land lest they make you sin against me. For if you serve their gods, it will be a snare to you, it will trip you up.
I. God Will be with You Along the Way
Now, these are the verses I want us to look at very, very important, great promises here, to take hold of, to possess the promises of God. Starting with this, "God will be with you along the way." Now, this is a promise. It's a promise to take hold us. He says, "I will bear you on eagle's wings and bring you to myself that you would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." God says something very similar to the church today, calls the church a kingdom of priests and a holy people. What a privilege is that? It's one of the greatest promises when He says, "And I will be with you along the way." One of the greatest promises is that God is Emanuel.
Jesus said, very similarly, Matthew 28:20. "I am with you always even to the end of the age." It's not just that He's with you, He is with you to bless, He is your helper along the way. It is He who makes you walk on high places. It is He who is your confidence. It is He who is your strength. It is He who walks with you to point out the promises of God. Notice Hebrews 13, He, himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Notice this, "So that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid, what will man do to me?"" Notice the connection?
See, the presence of God is a promise that will bless your life. He, himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you. Therefore, we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid."" Is there something to be afraid of? God has not given us the spirit of fear. God has given us a spirit of love and power and a sound mind, the Scripture says.
This is what David wrote in 2 Samuel 22:34-36, "He makes my feet like hinds' feet. He makes me walk on high places." I love that right there. It's a promise of God that comes from walking with God, His presence with you is that strength by which He sets my feet on high places. He makes my feet like hinds' feet. Do you know what a hind is? A hind is a doe, a deer, a female deer.
If you've been to Israel, you know those goats that walk up on the cliffs, and when you look at them, you think, "How can I do that? That's amazing." They're like almost sheet cliff. They just bound like it's easy. David saw that and said that's what God does. "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer. He makes me walk on high places. He trains my hands for war so that my arms can bend the bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation" Notice this, "and your help makes me great." It's one of the keys to understanding the promises of God. It's a promise that God will be with you so that we confidently say, "Your help makes me great."
A. God will bring you safely home
Then notice this in Exodus 23, He says this, "God will bring you safely home. He promises and this angel." By the way, many believe this to be a pre-incarnate Christ that we see in many places in the Old Testament. The promise was that he would go before them, to guard them along the way and bring them to that place which God has prepared before them." It's very encouraging to know that God goes before you, that He knows what's ahead in the journey of life and that He will bring you safely home. What is that old saying that's so wonderful? I don't know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow. It's one of the aspects of faith. He goes before even the larger picture of this life.
We know that this world is not our home. Our home is in the presence of the Lord in eternity, and God promises to bring us safely home. Notice what Jesus said in John 14, starting with verse one. "Do not let your heart be troubled." You're living in a troubled world, you live in a broken mess, this world is a mess. Anybody agree with me? Don't let your heart be troubled, as you'll walk through this mess of a world. "believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house, are many dwelling places, if it were not so, I would have told you. For I go to prepare a place for you and I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am you may be also."
He will bring you safely through this world, through this mess and He will bring you safely home. Oh, we look forward to the day when we will come safely home. Amen. Amen. Let's give the Lord praise absolutely.
Because He knows we're walking through turbulent, troubled world. He never promised life free of troubles, He promised to bring us safely home. He promised to be with us though. That's one of the aspects of God walking with you in the journey. He'll walk with you in the storm.
You know that famous hymn, Amazing Grace. There is one verse I want to capture the words of because it speaks to this point. "Through many dangers, toils and snares, we have already come. T'was grace that brought us safe thus far, and grace will lead us home." Amazing grace, how sweet the sound is that? He did not promise smooth sailing, He promised us safe passage. Jesus said "Nothing and no one can snatch you out of my Father's hand." What's interesting, it's oftentimes those storms, those troubles that God uses to teach us the greatest lesson and to strengthen faith.
Notice, James 1:2-3. "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter these trials; knowing that the testing of your faith produces something, it produces endurance, and endurance of faith, the testing of your faith." Someone once said, "If faith cannot be tested, it's a faith that cannot be trusted, but faith that is well tested, is faith that has found great endurance in the midst of the storms."
Some of the greatest men of faith-- You do a study on this, you'll see it's true. Some of the greatest men of faith in the Bible are those who suffered the most, fact it appears that those with the greatest calling, those who had the greatest impact, those who had the greatest faith are those who that endured the greatest storms.
For example, let's look at Joseph in the book of Genesis. You want to talk about enduring storms. You want to talk about troubles. God had given him this vision that he would one day arise. He was one of the youngest of the brothers, but he would one day arise to a position of authority, and his brothers when they recognize that, they didn't like this vision at all, and were very angry and jealous, and they betrayed him. You know the story, sold him into slavery in Egypt.
You want to talk about troubles. What happened to the vision, Lord? You said one day I would arise and be in some great position of authority. What is this? I'm a slave in Egypt. Then he was betrayed by the master's wife, and now he's thrown in prison. One trouble upon another. You know what's interesting? The very thing that God used to bring about that vision was that trouble. God used those struggles to bring about God's purpose in his life. It seems that those with the greatest calling are the ones who have endured the most.
You can talk about David. He was anointed as king and then the trouble started. You can talk about Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and on and on. The disciples of Jesus went through storms and God used them to strengthen their faith to prepare them for God's purpose. Remember the scene in Matthew 14 where Jesus, late in the evening put them into a boat and told them to go to the other side and it says that they immediately encountered a storm, a tremendous aspect and He came to them, it says, "walking on the sea".
There's that famous scene where Jesus is walking on the sea in the midst of the storm on the fourth watch of the night. In other words, they've been battling this storm for hour upon hour upon hour. Then on the fourth watch, Jesus comes to them. Matthew 14, the boat was already a long way from land battered by the waves, because the wind was against them, contrary and then the fourth watch in the night, He came to them walking on the sea.
B. Listen to the voice of the Lord
Then you see this. Notice in Exodus 23, He says, "I will send my angel to be with you to guard you along the way, but you must listen to his voice." Listen to the voice of the Lord, is a very important aspect of possessing the promises of God. God promises in His angel, he will guard you, obey his voice. This is important to recognize because many people, they want to see the promises of God. When you're talking about the promises of God and possessing the promises of God, many people say, "Yes, I want that", but they missed the part about listening to the voice of the Lord.
I do want to point out something as a side note, by the way. Our relationship to the Lord is different than what He is describing here. He says to them, they were told, "Do not be rebellious, for he will not pardon your transgressions." That is what He said to Israel. He does not say that to you and to me. For Jesus is payment in full for our sin. The payment has been made so that any who seek the forgiveness of God will find it. That is a very important distinction that we should bring about here.
I do want us to see that there are promises that are connected to listening to the voice of the Lord. There are promises that you take hold of when you listen. Let me give you a great verse. Luke 6, very famous story. Jesus says, "Everyone who comes to me, hears my words and acts on them." See, you listen to His voice means that you take hold of them and you live by them. There are promises that go with that. He says, "I will tell you what he's like. He's like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on that rock, then-" and here it comes, "when the flood occurs, when the torrent burst against that house, it could not shake it, for it had been well built."
He's talking about your life. You build your life on this rock, on the Word of God. You build your life on this rock. Then when the torrents come, He's talking about troubles, difficulties of life, when the torrents come burst against that house, your life will stand because it is well built on the Word of God. God wants to build your life well. Then you see this great promise in verse 22. "God would be an enemy to your enemies and adversaries to their adversaries." Great promise.
By the way, God is not blessing Israel today because they truly listen to His voice. I want to point this out. Much of Israel today is secular, but God is watching over Israel because God is faithful to His promises and He is not finished with Israel. God is setting the stage for the revealing of the latter days. We are drawing nearer and nearer to those days that Jesus described where there would be the birth pangs of like a woman in childbirth, the Earth will experience those things as we draw nearer and nearer. I'll tell you, we're at the very doorstep.
There's a very similar promise that He says to Israel that He does say to us in the New Testament, Romans 8:31, "What then shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" That's a promise to take hold of. Is not that amazing? If God be for us, then who can be against us? In other words, the fact that God is for you, is of greater significance than anything being against you. That's a rock. Stand on that. That's a promise. Take hold of that.
Notice Psalm 27, but David wrote it this way, I love Psalm 27. You got to read it, memorize it. It's amazing. "The Lord is my light. The Lord is my salvation, whom shall I fear?" You tell me, should I be afraid when the Lord is my light or my salvation? "The Lord is the defense of my life, whom shall I dread? Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear. Though war arise against me, in spite of this, I shall be confident." David understood something that we all need to understand.
Psalm 71:5, "You are my hope, oh, Lord, God. You are my confidence since my youth." Have that as an aspect of tremendous faith. There's a huge difference between self-confidence and God-confidence, and God wants us to be confident in Him. Amen.
C. He promises His favor
Then we see this, the favor of God, He promises His favor. See if you are in the Lord, if God is your Father and you are a son, you are a daughter, you can be sure that you have the favor of God on you. If God is your Father and you're the son, if God is your Father and you're the daughter, you have His favor.
Verse 25, he said He will bless their bread, He will bless their water, remove sickness and miscarriage from among them. Would you notice though, this is a blessing specifically for Israel in the land of promise if they will listen to the voice of the Lord. Though the promises to Israel were tied to their being in the Promised Land, there are promises that are very similar that He gives to the church. He desires to bless, He pours His favor out on you. He desires to heal. The favor of the Lord is on His people.
Would you notice, there's a great aspect of these promises that are tied to walking with Him, to having His Word in your life. There are promises that are connected with it. He says, "If you will walk in the ways of the Lord, if you have delight in the ways of the Lord, you will be like a tree firmly planted by the streams of water." Now, in Israel, it's a great illustration. It's dry, it's dusty, it's brown, many rocks. Then you have a stream flowing through it. If you're a tree planted by the stream, you have a constant source of that refreshing water, and they will bless your life.
Notice, let me give it to you out of Psalm 1, starting with verse 1. "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the path of sinners or sit in this seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord", the Word of God, he delights in it. "In the Word, he meditates day and night." He thinks of, considers, because he delights in it. "He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water", notice, "which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither and in whatever he does, he prospers. Now there's a great promise that many people would love to take hold of.
In whatever I do, you will bless, even to make it prosper? That's amazing. God, I want that promise. He says, but do you see the connection? For those who delight in your ways, who delight in you, who want that in their-- I think about it in my life, I want those things. That's the one who will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water yielding its fruit in its season. Its leaf does not wither. His soul is made alive, he is refreshed in his soul. Then it says, whatever he does, he prospers.
Then it says, "He sends His terror ahead of them." In other words, people will hear. Be very careful because God blesses. That's a great thing. Then it says, "He promises to send confusion upon their enemies." That's an interesting one. I was thinking of an illustration fairly recent in the history of Israel. Used as an illustration the Six-Day War in 1967, Six Days 1967, by the way, very important point in the history of Israel, still referred to today. In fact, it's very common when you read the news and hear people referring to Israel particularly those that are very critical of Israel suggest that they return to the borders that were there before the 1967 war. Many today say, give it back all that you took in '67, give it all back.
Well, here's, what's interesting. Three Arab nations amassing their armies on the borders of Israel made it quite clear, their intent, complete destruction of Israel, complete annihilation of Israel. That was their intent; Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. Israel decided on a preemptive strike. Within just days, Israel had captured the entire Sinai, pushed the army of Jordan to the other side of the river, taken Jerusalem and was ready to sign a cease fire.
Then the most amazing thing they were engaging with the forces of Syria there on the Golan Heights-- Golan Heights is just to the east of the Sea of Galilee up on the plateau, when radio Damascus-- Damascus is the capital of Syria-- radio Damascus broadcast a rumor. There was some commotion happening in the streets of Damascus and someone wrongly assumed that Israel's army was in the very streets of Damascus and this got broadcast on the radio. The soldiers up in the Golan Heights heard this broadcast on the radio and thought, "Oh no, we better get back to defend Damascus". Many of them left the Golan Heights so that Israel was able to take it with quite ease.
It was still a battle, but they took it quite easily. Interesting side note, the intent of those Arab nations in attacking Israel in 1967 was not to create a Palestinian state. This is very important. The intent was not to create a Palestinian state. It was to expand their own borders.
Another interesting factoid, after the war ended, the Israeli parliaments known as the Knesset voted unanimously, that's a 100% vote. They voted unanimously to give it all back in exchange for peace, which was flat out rejected by the Arabs. The Arabs refused to acknowledge the existence of Israel and refused to accept the offer of giving it all back. They wanted it all.
What's interesting is, today, there are many voices around the world very critical of Israel that say, "Give it back" to which Israel says, "We offered to give it back and you didn't want it back because you wouldn't accept the terms." Because Israel is still being blessed by God today. Do you believe it? Amen.
II. Trust that God’s Timing is Perfect
Now then there's this in Exodus 23, trust that God's timing is perfect. He wanted Israel to possess the land of promise. "I'll will go before you. I'll drive out your enemies." He said, "I'll even use hornets." Hornets would do it. If you've ever been stuck by a Hornet, you'll know they're way worse than bees, but here's what I want you to see. Victory may come little by little. He said he would not drive out the enemies in a single year, He would drive them out little by little.
A. Victory may come little by little
This is important to understand because people don't like little by little. We want instantly, we want it all, we want it all now. We don't like little by little. We live in a culture that values instant everything. I remember back many years ago when I used to be in the restaurant business, when you made mashed potatoes, you made them out of potatoes and then they invented instant mashed potatoes. Now there's instant everything. You can have instant dinner, you can have instant messaging. You can make a call to anybody in the world. Instantly you can reach someone across the world and it creates an expectation of instant everything, including in spiritual things.
We don't like the idea of little by little. Here's an example, in many parts of the world, it's assumed that sin is the result of a demon and they therefore believe that if someone could pray out that demon, that they would instantly be victorious over that sin. Well, I'm here to tell you it doesn't work that way. What we need to learn is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ step by step, day by day. Because if you are a disciple of Christ growing step by step, little by little, increasing in measures of spiritual maturity, then you'll see an increase of spiritual capacity.
Notice the way Paul wrote it in Philippians 3:12-14, "I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet, but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on. I press on toward the goal of the prize of the empirical call of God in Christ Jesus. It's step by step, pressing, pressing, pressing, growing, growing, growing, one step, one day.
B. God waits until you’re ready
Notice this, it's a great principle. God waits until you're ready. There are some promises that God waits to give you until you're ready to receive them, until you have the capacity, until you have the spiritual maturity. If God did this or that in your life in an instant, you wouldn't be ready. We need to grow in the capacity, step by step, day by day, growing in the capacity of spiritual maturity so that we have that heart that we're ready for.
Here's an illustration. It's like a young person who wants to get married, and they know just the kind of person that they want to have for a spouse, but they forget that they're not ready themselves. I was thinking of a conversation I had with my son. He was in his teens and we were having a Father, Son talk, not that talk, but we were having a Father, Son talk and we're talking about his future wife.
He's just in his teens, right? I'm trying to help him to see a point. I said, "Do you want be married some day?" "Yes, I would like to be married." I said, "What kind of spouse? What kind of wife would you like to have?" I'll tell you, he gave me a great answer. It really was a good answer. "Well, I would like a woman who loves the Lord, loves kids, great sense of humor, very responsible, good work ethic." "Wow, that's an amazing woman you're describing there." I said to him, "What kind of man are you going to have to be to attract a woman like that?" Any woman want to agree with me? Women are going, preach it, brother.
You're going to have to grow in the spiritual capacity to even have a woman like that interested in you. You've got to grow in spiritual capacity. I'm thinking of myself. When we first started the church, we started the church in our living room with just a Bible study, first Sunday morning, we had 18 people. A few, I don't know, a few weeks later, whatever, we doubled in size, we had 35. Oh, I was so nervous that day.
God had to increase the capacity. When there are challenges, there are problems that we don't even yet know about. God is preparing you. God is making you ready for what's coming in your life by step by step, walking with Him along the way. We need patience. Trust that God's timing is perfect and He is increasing our capacity in the Spirit. He's increasing our soul to be able to receive greater promises.
C. Make no covenants of compromise
Then there's this, "Make no covenants of compromise" He says. "Make no covenants of compromise with those who live in that land, lest they make you sin. Because if you serve their gods, they will be a snare to you." A snare is a trap. It's a obstacle. It will trip you up. Some people. make a covenant with trouble. This thing is too difficult for me. I can't defeat it. I guess I'll just have to live with it. Now, making a covenant of compromise, Verse 33, "Do not make a covenant of compromise, it will be a snare to you."
Because God has a desire that you will walk in the fullness of God's promise, that you would walk in the fullness of God's presence, that you would walk in the fullness of God's power. In other words, He doesn't just take you out of Egypt, He doesn't just take you out of the condition of oppression or brokenness in which He found you, He's going to bring you to a place of victory. Living under the oppression and hardship that they lived all those years, it does something to the soul. Does something really tragic to the soul. Something's going to have to change.
God knows that. He's giving them promises. He's showing them the way to live and the promises to take hold of for He's showing them that He wants to do a work of transformation, that the work of transformation is a beautiful work. What God wants to do in your life is a beautiful work. It's a beautiful thing. For many of us, we were all born in the condition of man. We were born in the brokenness of humanity. We came out of the world and the world does something tragic to the soul. Something has to change. God knows. I want to show you the way of transformation and I'll do a work in your life.
It's beautiful. Walk with me step by step, day by day, and you'll see it. I'll transform you. It's a beautiful word. Let nothing trip you, let nothing be a snare to you, let nothing hinder you. I will bless you. I love you and I want the fullness of blessing and the fullness of God's presence and the fullness of His promises. It's beautiful work. That's what I want in my life. Anybody else?
Father, thank you so much for what you are promising us here, that you would do a work of transformation, and what a beautiful work it is. Lord, I just pray that you would show us what it means to take hold of these promises, to walk with you day by day, step by step, delighting in the ways of God and seeing the transformation that comes from it.