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Hope Through Hardship,
Lessons From the Life of Joseph, Part 8
God’s Plan Has Purpose
Bruce A. Hess
We’re glad that you’re here and if you would, please take out your Bibles now and turn in them, in the Old Testament, to the book of Genesis, chapter number 41. It’s the first book in the Bible. If you don’t have a Bible with you, you could find one under a chair near you and you could take that Bible and turn to page number 31, and you would be at Genesis, chapter 41.
I think most of us are familiar with the musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ One of the key characters in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is Tevye. Tevye is a poor Jewish milkman, and he has five daughters, and their family is experiencing hardship in life. Hardship has been something the Jewish people have known throughout the centuries and in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ there is one particular scene where Tevye decides that he is going to have a little conversation with the Lord. It goes something like this, “Lord, I know, I know, that we are your chosen people and all that, but just once in a while, couldn’t You choose somebody else?”
You know, we can identify with that as hardship comes into our life and we could say, ‘Just once in a while couldn’t You choose somebody else?’ The reason why we can identify with that is, hardship is called hardship because it is hard. And hardship can wear us down and hardship can discourage us. Hardship can lead us to have this sense of defeat in our life because, part of what happens when we are in the midst of hardship is, we have this tendency to take our eyes off God and put them onto the circumstances.
That can happen to anybody. Even significant spiritual leaders can have that process of taking their eyes off God and putting them on the circumstances. Even the great reformer Martin Luther experienced that. One particular time in his life, circumstances were piling up against him and he had just experienced another very dismaying setback in his battle for truth and his response to that was to go hole up [to hide or retreat] in his study for a number of days. Luther became withdrawn; he became moody. He would come out of that room only for meals and then he would quickly return to it. Everybody in the family knew what was going on. After this had gone on for a number of days, his wife, Katie, walked into his study one day and she was dressed in black from head to toe. Luther looked at her and said, ‘Are you going to a funeral?’ Her response was, ‘No, since you are acting like God is dead, I thought I would come in and mourn with you.’
How true it is that we need someone to remind us, sometimes, that the hardship we are going through is still part of God’s plan in our life.
What we are going to share this morning is of value to all of us. Maybe today, you are in the midst of difficulty; you are in the midst of hardship; or maybe you are headed to hardship in the days and the weeks ahead. We are going to have this struggle just as Luther had, to take our eyes off of God, and put them on the circumstances. We are going to be tempted to operate in our life as if God was dead.
Let me just remind you…I need to be reminded of this…that God is very much alive, and God is very present, and He is sovereign, and He is in control, and He has a plan and purpose in all that He allows.
We’ve been going through a series of messages we have entitled, ‘Hope Through Hardship, Lessons from the Life of Joseph.” The title we have given for today’s message is this, ‘God’s Plan Has Purpose.” God’s Plan Has Purpose. We are going to simply look at two things today. It is a two-fold outline. First of all, we are going to spend some moments looking at God’s purpose in Joseph’s life and then we are going to take a few moments to reflect on God’s purpose in my life. God’s purpose in your life.
So, it is very simple where we are going today. Let’s begin by looking at God’s purpose in Joseph’s life. Now, we have taken a break for a couple of weeks because of Easter events so I want to do just a little bit of review. You remember the story of Joseph. At the age of seventeen he is betrayed by his brothers and at one point he thinks they are going to execute him, but eventually, what they do is, they sell him to a traveling caravan of slave traders.
He ends up being shackled and has to walk hundreds of miles to Egypt where he is sold on the slave block there. Potiphar, who buys him, and Joseph proves to be very faithful in his service to Potiphar. But Joseph ends up being falsely accused of sexual assault. He is tossed into prison falsely and he spends years, years in prison. While he is there, he helps out the chief cupbearer of Pharaoh. He says to him, ‘When you get out, would you remember me?’ And he says, ‘I will absolutely remember you.’ But he forgets all about Joseph for two years.
So, as we come to Genesis, chapter 41, as we look at these events in this chapter, we now know that Joseph, according to verse 46, is thirty years old at this point. In other words, he spent thirteen years in hardship. But rather than act like God is dead, we see a man who is living by faith. He is living by faith in God’s presence in his life; he is living by faith in God’s providence in his life; he is living by faith in God’s promises in his life.
So, with all of that as a review and a context, let’s begin to work our way through chapter 41. Look at verse 1. “Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream, and behold, he was standing by the Nile River. And from the Nile there came up seven cows, sleek and fat; and they grazed in the marsh grass.” Verse 3, “Then behold, seven other cows came up after them from the Nile, ugly and gaunt, and they stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile.” Verse 4, “The ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven sleek and fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.”
He woke up and had the same reaction we have sometimes, ‘Man, that was a weird dream.’ Then he dozes off again, verse 5, “He fell asleep and dreamed a second time; and behold, seven ears of grain came up on a single stalk, plump and good. Then behold, seven ears, (another seven ears), thin and scorched by the east wind, sprouted up after them. The thin ears swallowed up the seven plump and full ears. Then Pharaoh awoke.”
He was like ‘Oh, my gosh, another weird dream.’ Then verse 8, “Now in the morning his spirit was troubled.” That is an understatement. He had had these back-to-back very ominous dreams; they were weird with a capital “W.” And he is bumfuzzled [thoroughly confused] by it all. He knows that these must mean something, but I have no idea what the meaning of these dreams are. So, in the rest of verse 8, what does he do? “He sends and he calls for all the magicians of Egypt and its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh.”
He gets all the wise guys together. You know, all the counselors of the mighty nation and he says, ‘These are the dreams that I had. Who can interpret them?’ And nobody could do it. You have to know, as THE leading ruler of the world of that day, he was irritated over that. I believe he got a little attitude going about it. He basically said, ‘I’ve got to know this or there is going to be hell to pay.’
When that attitude got conveyed, there was this guy who was part of the team of advisors who was the chief cupbearer. He thinks to himself, ‘You know what? I kind of recognize that attitude: ‘I’ve got to know or there’s going to be hell to pay.’ And he knew what it was like when Pharaoh had been mad at him and there was ‘hell to pay’ and that could mean prison for the whole group, or it could mean worse—you might have your head cut off.
So, he decides to speak up. It’s like the little chief cupbearer, ‘Uh, Pharaoh? Could I just bring something up for a moment? I want to make mention today of some of my own offenses, some of the mistakes and sins that I actually committed. He said, ‘You remember Pharaoh when you were furious with your servants, with me and with the chief baker, and you put us into prison. Do you remember when that happened?’ He goes on to talk about it. He says, ‘We had a dream on the same night, the chief baker and myself, we dreamed, and we had different dreams and there was this Hebrew youth who was there in prison with us. He was a servant of the captain of the bodyguard, and we were telling him about these dreams, and he interpreted our dreams for us. He got a perfect interpretation for both of those dreams, and just as he interpreted them, verse 13, to us, so it happened. And you know, Pharaoh, you restored me to my office, but remember, you hanged the chief baker.’
What does Pharaoh do? Verse 14, “Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved and changed his clothes,” I mean, he was dirty; he was grimy; he was smelly; and they got him all cleaned up and clean-shaven and they gave him new clothes and, “he came to Pharaoh.”
Now, stop for a moment. Do you hear the irony in this story? I mean, Pharaoh is the most powerful person on the face of the planet and yet he is not in control. Who is in control? God is in control. And His sovereign providence is active, and you know what is going to happen? Pharaoh is going to do exactly what God planned for him to do. He is still going to have his own choices in the matter, but God’s sovereign providence rules over all of that.
So, Joseph shows up, clean and spiffy. Verse 15, “Pharaoh says to Joseph, ‘I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it: and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.’” I love Joseph’s response in the next verse, “Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.’”
Even in the midst of all the hardship he was having in his life, thirteen years of it, we see the moment he steps into the light he is displaying a mind-set of wanting to honor the Lord. God gets the credit.
We see it in that verse, we see it also in verse 25. He is going to say, “God has told to Pharaoh what He is about to do.”
We see it in verse 28, “God has shown to Pharaoh what He is about to do.”
We see it two times in verse 32, “It is a matter that is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about.”
It tells us something about Joseph’s heart, that even with all the hardship, his mindset was to honor the Lord.
Now, in verses 17-24, basically what happens is that Pharaoh describes the dreams to Joseph. The same details that we’ve already seen so we won’t look at those verses but look at verse 25 of chapter 41. After hearing everything, Joseph now says to Pharaoh, verse 25, “Pharaoh’s dreams are… (basically, even though there are two of them they are really the same dream, about the same message) God has told Pharaoh what He is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years. The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven thin ears scorched by the east wind will be seven years of famine.
It is as I have spoken to Pharaoh: God has shown to Pharaoh what He is about to do. Behold, (here is the lesson) seven years of great abundance are coming in all the land of Egypt; and after them seven years of famine will come, and all the abundance (of those first seven years) will be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine will ravage the land. So, the abundance will be unknown in the land because of that subsequent famine; it will be very severe. Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, it means that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about.”
Now, Egypt was THE most powerful nation on the planet at the time. It would be very much, if we wanted a comparison, like the United States of America without the EU, without Russia, without China, without Japan. The most powerful nation on the earth and their economy was fully built around agriculture. When you have an agriculture economy even a year long drought could devastate it. But this, the seven years of drought and famine, notice verse 30, it says, “the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt, and the famine will (in the New American Standard) ravage the land.” That word, in the original language is also translated in the Old Testament, ‘annihilate,’ ‘demolish,’ ‘exterminate.’ This was really strong language. Seven years [of famine] in their economy would pulverize it, lead probably to the collapse of the empire and the termination of Pharaoh’s reign.
Just stop for a moment and try to put yourself there. Seven years of famine are coming, and they are just going to potentially pulverize. It is going to be so severe it is going to annihilate, demolish, just exterminate everything economically. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure that when that gets stated [by Joseph], there was what? Dead quiet in the palace. How long that went on I don’t exactly know. But Joseph speaks up with a clear, bold proposal in verse 33.
He says, “Now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise and set him over the land of Egypt.” This will be the solution. “Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him exact a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance. Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh’s authority, and let them guard it. Let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land will not perish during the famine.”
Now, there is a gap that exists between verse 36 and verse 37. There is a gap. He makes this bold proposal and so what happens is, there is this royal huddle. Pharaoh calls everybody together and says, ‘We’ve got to talk through this. Let’s have a little discussion about this idea that he threw out.’ Look at verse 37, it tells us that some kind of a confab went on because in verse 37 it says, “Now the proposal seemed good to Pharaoh and to his servants.” See, they had a little discussion about all of this.
“Then Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?’ Then, there is another gap that occurs in the events here. You can imagine, with Pharaoh, they talked over the idea, and they said, ‘Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.’ Pharaoh says, ‘Alright, where can we find a guy like that? Hamadi, what do you think? Where do you think we could find him?’
‘I don’t know anybody like that.’
‘Senbi, what do you think? Can we find a guy like that?
Tarik, what do you think? Akil, what do you think?’
And everyone of them was drawing a blank [fail to come up with a solution].
‘I don’t know where we could find somebody like that.’
Then, somebody says, ‘Uh, Pharaoh, what about that Jewish, Joseph guy? I mean after all it was his idea.’
And, you have to believe that Pharaoh, when you are talking about doing what he is about to do, he wanted to check up on this Joseph guy. I have no doubt that he called in the chief jailer for a little while and said, ‘Tell me about Joseph when he was in prison, tell me about everything that he did there.’ And, he probably had heard that he had been a slave to Potiphar, and he called Potiphar in and said, ‘I want you to tell me what he was like when he was running your household. Fill me in on all that stuff.’ So, there is a gap that exists here again.
Then, we come to verse 39, Pharaoh makes his decision, so he says to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all of this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you. Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’ Then Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put the gold necklace around his neck. He had him ride in his second chariot; and they proclaimed before Joseph, ‘Bow the knee!’ And Pharaoh set him over all the land of Egypt. Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph (verse 44), ‘Though I am Pharaoh, yet without your permission no one shall raise his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.’”
Men and women, that is the most profound twenty-four-hour promotion in all of world history! There has never been anything like that. You are asked to step out of the prison cell and the same day you are now the second most powerful man in all of the world.
And, Joseph is given by Pharaoh geographical control of the most prosperous nation on the planet. You will be over all the land of Egypt. He is given, by Pharaoh, supreme authority. He says to him in verse 42, ‘Here take my signet ring, with that you can authorize the purchase of anything.’ It was Pharaoh’s personal platinum Mastercard. Then he gave him the royal garments and he put on—I don’t know really what it was—but it was the royal gold necklace.
Joseph was given prestige and privilege. He said to Joseph, ‘You are going to ride in the second chariot. Bro, you are going to be in the second limo. You are going to have your own secret service and what they are going to be doing is, they are going to run ahead of you in the car and they are going to shout out, ‘Here comes Joseph, everybody honor and bow your knee to him.’
He was given total reliance by Pharaoh in verse 44. He is basically saying, ‘Even though I am the Pharaoh, whatever you say in this arena goes. We will follow everything that you have to say.’
Now, men and women, that is astonishing. But it has the unmistakable aroma of God’s sovereign providence. For thirteen years God in His sovereign providence had been developing Joseph. For thirteen years His sovereign providence had been at work. There had been dreams given to the chief baker and the chief cupbearer. There had been dreams given to Pharaoh himself.
Now we are learning, for the next fourteen years, God is going to direct the weather patterns. He is going to say, ‘I’ll tell you exactly what happens for the first seven years…I’ll tell you exactly what happens for the next fourteen years.’ We could use that kind of insight here in central Oklahoma. While we have the best technology in the world; we do the best that we can with our weather predictions, but they just don’t get it right all of the time. But, God, in His sovereign providence knows what is going to happen for the next seven years. And He knows what is going to happen for the next seven years after that.
In Joseph’s life, you have to see this, he is basically at the summit right now. When you look down from the summit, he sees this long and winding road that was laced with thirteen years of hardship. As he is standing on the summit, he is remembering that during those thirteen years God squeezed the selfishness out of his life and God squeezed the immaturity out of his life. For those thirteen years God was equipping Joseph to manage people; to manage budgets. And as he stands on the summit and he looks back at that winding road, he realizes, ‘For thirteen years I’ve been learning about how to trust God’s promises. For thirteen years I’ve been learning about how to rest in God’s presence in my life. For thirteen years I’ve been learning how to live by faith.’ God uses hardship to shape us.
Robert Browning Hamilton wrote these words, they are very true. The longer you’ve lived life, you will know they are very true. He said,
I walked a mile with pleasure; she chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser for all she had to say.
I walked a mile with sorrow, and ne’er a word said she.
But, oh, the things I learned from her, when sorrow walked with me.
Look at chapter 41, verse 46, “Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt. During the seven years of plenty the land brought forth abundantly. So, he gathered all the food of these seven years which occurred in the land of Egypt and placed the food in the cities; he placed in every city the food from its own surrounding fields. Thus, Joseph stored up grain in great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure.” They ran out of paper; they couldn’t even write down all the records of how much grain there was. It just blew out their computers.
Then look at verse 53, “When the seven years of plenty which had been in the land of Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began to come, just as Joseph had said, then there was famine in all the lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. So, when all the land of Egypt was famished, (because of the early years of the famine) the people cried out to Pharaoh for bread and Pharaoh said, ‘Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, you shall do.’ When the famine was spread over all the region, then Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold to the Egyptians, (but also, verse 57) people came from around the region to Egypt to buy grain.”
Eventually the famine becomes severe in the land of Canaan and Jacob’s family shows up in Egypt. God’s plan has purpose.
The first thing that we said we were going to do today is look at God’s purpose in Joseph’s life and part of that purpose in his life was to preserve the family of Israel. But let’s talk a little bit about God’s purpose in my life and in your life.
When we are in the midst of hardship there are no random events; there are no accidents; there is no chance. J. I. Packer put it this way, he said, “The doctrine of Providence teaches Christians,” that is you and me, “that they are never in the grip of blind forces (fortune, chance, luck, fate). All that happens to them is divinely planned and each event comes as a new summons to trust, obey, and rejoice, knowing that all is for one’s spiritual and eternal good.”
What this really means is that when we are in difficulty and when we are in hardship, we are called to do something. What we are called to do is to live by faith. To believe that God has purpose, even when we can’t see it. God’s plan always has purpose.
I love what Steve Farrar has written. He basically brought a little imagination to the scene, and he says this, “Imagine when Joseph was first tossed into prison, tossed into the dungeon. Imagine that God came to him and said something like this, “Now, Joseph listen to Me, I know you are hurting, and I know that you don’t understand why this has happened. I know this is devastating for you. So I am about to do something I don’t normally do. I am going to go ahead and tell you why I put you in here. Ready? Here’s the scoop.”
“Before long you are going to be running this jail and I will give you favor with the chief jailer, and he will turn everything over to you just as Potiphar did. And you are about to learn things in this place that you couldn’t learn in Potiphar’s household. That is why I put you in here.
Before long two men who work for Pharaoh will be thrown into prison. They will have dreams and you will interpret their dreams. One will live and one will die, just as you say. And when one man goes back to work for Pharaoh, you will ask him not to forget you, but he will forget. I will make him forget you. You will be in here for two more years. Are you tracking with me, Joseph?
At the end of that time, I will make Pharaoh have a dream that will scare him to death. He will call his advisors together, but none of them will be able to give meaning to his dreams. Then, I will make the cupbearer remember you. He will tell Pharaoh about you and the dream you interpreted. Pharaoh will then summon you and you will stand before him and tell him that I am giving him seven years of prosperity, then seven years of famine. You will instruct him to appoint a man to administrate the prosperity so the world can survive the famine. He will appoint you to the task and make you the second most powerful man in the world.
After that, Joseph, I will bring your father and your brothers to Egypt, you will be reunited with them. You and your brothers will be the twelve tribes of Israel and through your family I will bring My Son into the world. He will be born of a virgin and will give His life a ransom for many. That is why you are in here.” You got it?”
Whoa! Can you imagine Joseph even processing that? Wait a minute. Slow down. What’s this about the second most powerful man in the world? And this thing about Your Son being born of a virgin? It had to short circuit him to begin with, but it also raises a thousand other questions. It’s just not what God does…God doesn’t do that!
Now, sometimes in our life we eventually see part of the purpose. That’s what happens to Joseph. He, in his lifetime, gets to see part of the purpose. You know, why did I get cancer? I don’t really know fully, but I have, in my life, seen part of the purpose and that was I was able to minister to other people who got the same diagnosis for the same cancer that I had. Sometimes we eventually get to see part of the purpose but, God’s purpose is not always clear in this life.
When you come to the book of Hebrews and chapter 11—it is the chapter on faith. And as you work your way through Hebrews 11 you will see a number of people who went through hardship. You see Noah and you see Abraham and you see Sarah and you see Moses and you see Rahab and you see Gideon and you see David. And all those people experienced hardship and they lived by faith. In all their situations they were eventually able to at least see part of the purpose of the hardship in their life.
But you know Hebrews 11 mentions some others, the others. Verse 36 says this, “Others experienced mockings, and scourgings…they were stoned, they were sawn in two…they were put to death with the sword…they went about being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated, wandering in deserts and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, did not receive what was promised.” In other words, the purpose for their hardship was not clear until they were in the presence of the Lord, until they were in heaven.
Vance Havner lost his wife to disease, and it was a devastating loss in his life. Later on, he wrote these words, “When before the throne we stand in Him complete, all the riddles that puzzle us here will fall into place and we shall know in fulfillment what we now believe in faith—that all things work together for good in His eternal purpose. Then, no longer will we cry, My God, why? Instead, our “alas” will become Alleluia. All question marks will be straightened into exclamation points; sorrow will change to singing; and pain will be lost in praise.”
If hardship is a riddle that puzzles you, no matter when it becomes clear, the key principle of the Word of God is that we are to live by faith. You see it in the Old Testament taught, you see it in the New Testament taught: “The righteous shall live by faith.”
We see that in Habakkuk, chapter 2, verse 4. Go back and look at that. That is in a context of extreme hardship, ‘the righteous shall live by faith.’
We see it in Hebrews, chapter 10, verse 38. Again, if you look at it, a context of extreme hardship, ‘the righteous shall live by faith.’
God’s plan has purpose and the righteous shall live by faith.
One of my favorite stories of all time is the story of Andrew Murray. It was a time when he was in the midst of a very, very, very painful hardship in his life and he was staying at someone else’s home. One morning while he was eating breakfast in his room, his hostess told him there was a woman downstairs who was in great trouble, and knowing of Andrew Murray had wanted to come and see if he had any advice for her. So, Andrew Murray handed to his hostess this piece of paper that he had been writing on and he said to her, ‘Just give her this advice that I had been writing down for myself. It may be that she will find it helpful.’ This is what he had written there:
In time of trouble I say, First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this perplexing place and in that I will rest. Next, He will keep me here, in His love and give me grace in this trial to behave as His child. Then, He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons He intends me to learn, and working in me the grace He means to bestow. And, last, in His good time He can bring me out again. How and when, He knows. Therefore, I say, I am here, (1) by God’s appointment, (2) in His keeping, (3) under His training and (4) for His time.
God’s plan has purpose!
Let’s pray together. Father, we just thank You for the Word of God. Oh, we desperately need the perspective of the Word of God. We realize, Lord, we are too often like Tevya—just once couldn’t You choose someone else? What we need to remember is to learn that the righteous shall live by faith. We know that we may see part of this purpose now, but it may not be clear until we are face-to-face with Jesus. But, in the meantime, we can remember that I am here (1) by God’s appointment, (2) in His keeping, (3)under His training, (4) for His time.
Lord, we just really want to trust You because You want to develop in us faithfulness. You want to develop in us righteousness. You want to develop in us holiness…so that we can honor Jesus Christ. We pray in His name. Amen.
Questions for Reflection
Joseph week 8
Share a time when you had feelings similar to Tevya. That is, when in the midst of hardship you were thinking: God once in a while can’t you chose someone else?
Think of a time where the circumstances felt so overwhelming that you acted like Luther (grumpy, moody, down). How do you think you would have responded if someone approached you dressed fully in black, saying, Since you are acting like God is dead, I thought I would come and mourn with you?
Brainstorm about a modern-day equivalent to Joseph’s sudden ascent from the pit to the palace…all in 24 hours.
What current situation or problem are you enduring while you wait for God to work? Explain.
Robert Browning Hamilton talked of walking a mile with ‘pleasure,’ but she left me none the wiser. Walking a mile with ‘sorrow,’ oh, the things I learned from her! Expand more on the core of what he is saying.
“The Righteous shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4, Hebrews 10:38). What would that look like in your life this next week?
Pray for one another to trust that God’s Plan has Purpose as it relates to each person’s life situation.