For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”
 So then he has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills.
 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”
 But who are you, a man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me thus?”
 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?
 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction,
 in order to make known the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory,
 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
 As indeed he says in Hose’a, “Those who were not my people
I will call `my people,’
and her who was not beloved
I will call `my beloved.’”
 “And in the very place where it was said to them, `You are not my
they will be called `sons of the living God.’”
 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved;
 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
 Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
 “Hear then the parable of the sower.
 When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart; this is what was sown along the path.
 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.
 As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America