The Daily Audio Bible Reading for Saturday December 9, 2023 (NIV)

Joel 1-3

I am Joel the son of Pethuel.
And this is the message
the Lord gave to me.

Locusts Cover the Land

Listen, you leaders
and everyone else
in the land.
Has anything like this
ever happened before?
Tell our children!
Let it be told
to our grandchildren
and their children too.

Swarm after swarm of locusts[a]
has attacked our crops,
eating everything in sight.
Sober up, you drunkards!
Cry long and loud;
your wine supply is gone.
(A) A powerful nation[b]
with countless troops
has invaded our land.
They have the teeth and jaws
of powerful lions.
Our grapevines and fig trees
are stripped bare;
only naked branches remain.

Grieve like a young woman
mourning for the man
she was to marry.
Offerings of grain and wine
are no longer brought
to the Lord's temple.
His servants, the priests,
are deep in sorrow.
10 Barren fields mourn;
grain, grapes, and olives
are scorched and shriveled.

11 Mourn for our farms
and our vineyards!
There's no wheat or barley
growing in our fields.
12 Grapevines have dried up
and so has every tree—
figs and pomegranates,[c]
date palms and apples.
All happiness has faded away.

Return to God

13 Mourn, you priests who serve
at the altar of my God.
Spend your days and nights
wearing sackcloth.[d]
Offerings of grain and wine
are no longer brought
to the Lord's temple.

14 Tell the leaders and people
to come together
at the temple.
Order them to go without eating[e]
and to pray sincerely.
15 (B) We are in for trouble!
Soon the Lord All-Powerful
will bring disaster.
16 Our food is already gone;
there's no more celebrating
at the temple of our God.

17 Seeds dry up in the ground;[f]
no harvest is possible.
Our barns are in bad shape,
with no grain
to store in them.
18 Our cattle wander aimlessly,
moaning for lack of pasture,
and sheep are suffering.[g]
19 I cry out to you, Lord.
Grasslands and forests are eaten
by the scorching heat.
20 Wild animals have no water
because of you;
rivers and streams are dry,
and pastures are parched.

Locusts and an Enemy Army

Sound the trumpet on Zion,
the Lord's sacred hill.
Warn everyone to tremble!
The judgment day of the Lord
is coming soon.
It will be dark and gloomy
with storm clouds overhead.
Troops will cover the mountains
like thunderclouds.
No army this powerful
has ever been gathered before
or will be gathered again.
Fiery flames surround them;
no one escapes.
Before they invaded,
the land was like Eden;
now only a desert remains.

(C) They look like horses
and charge like cavalry.
They roar over mountains
like noisy chariots,
or a mighty army
ready for battle.
They are a forest fire
that feasts on straw.
The very sight of them
is frightening.[h]
They climb over walls
like warriors;
they march in columns
and never turn aside.[i]
They charge straight ahead,
without pushing each other;
even arrows and spears
cannot make them retreat.
They swarm over city walls
and enter our homes;
they crawl in through windows,
just like thieves.

10 (D) They make the earth tremble
and the heavens shake;
the sun and moon turn dark,
and stars stop shining.
11 (E) The Lord God leads this army
of countless troops,
and they obey his commands.
The day of his judgment
is so terrible
that no one can stand it.

The Lord's Invitation

12 The Lord said:

It isn't too late.
You can still return to me
with all your heart.
Start crying and mourning!
Go without eating.
13 Don't rip your clothes
to show your sorrow.
Instead, turn back to me
with broken hearts.
I am merciful, kind, and caring.
I don't easily lose my temper,
and I don't like to punish.

14 I am the Lord your God.
Perhaps I will change my mind
and treat you with mercy.
Then you will be blessed
with enough grain and wine
for offering sacrifices to me.

15 Sound the trumpet on Zion!
Call the people together.
Show your sorrow
by going without food.
16 (F) Make sure that everyone
is fit to worship me.[j]
Bring adults, children, babies,
and even bring newlyweds
from their festivities.

17 (G) Tell my servants, the priests,
to cry inside the temple
and to offer this prayer
near the altar:[k]
“Save your people, Lord God!
Don't let foreign nations
make jokes about us.
Don't let them laugh and ask,
‘Where is your God?’ ”

The Lord Will Bless the Land

18 The Lord was deeply concerned
about his land
and had pity on his people.
19 In answer to their prayers
he said,
“I will give you enough grain,
wine, and olive oil
to satisfy your needs.
No longer will I let you
be insulted by the nations.
20 An army attacked from the north,
but I will chase it
into a scorching desert.
There it will rot and stink
from the Dead Sea
to the Mediterranean.”

The Lord works wonders
21 and does great things.
So tell the soil to celebrate
22 and wild animals
to stop being afraid.
Grasslands are green again;
fruit trees and fig trees
are loaded with fruit.
Grapevines are covered
with grapes.

23 People of Zion,[l]
celebrate in honor
of the Lord your God!
He is generous and has sent
the autumn and spring rains
in the proper seasons.[m]
24 Grain will cover
your threshing places;
jars will overflow
with wine and olive oil.

The Lord Will Rescue His People

25 I, the Lord your God,
will make up for the losses
caused by those swarms
and swarms of locusts[n]
I sent to attack you.
26 My people, you will eat
until you are satisfied.
Then you will praise me
for the wonderful things
I have done.
Never again will you
be put to shame.

27 Israel, you will know
that I stand at your side.
I am the Lord your God—
there are no other gods.
Never again will you
be put to shame.

The Lord Will Work Wonders

The Lord said:

28 (H) Later, I will give my Spirit
to everyone.
Your sons and daughters
will prophesy.
Your old men
will have dreams,
and your young men
will see visions.
29 In those days I will even give
my Spirit to my servants,
both men and women.

30 I will work wonders
in the sky above
and on the earth below.
There will be blood and fire
and clouds of smoke.
31 (I) The sun will turn dark,
and the moon
will be as red as blood
before that great
and terrible day
when I appear.

32 (J) Then I, the Lord will save everyone who faithfully worships me. I have promised there will be survivors on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and among them will be my chosen ones.

The Lord Will Judge the Nations

At that time I, the Lord, will make Judah and Jerusalem prosperous again. Then in Judgment Valley[o] I will bring together the nations that scattered my people Israel everywhere in the world, and I will bring charges against those nations. They divided up my land and gambled to see who would get my people; they sold boys and girls to pay for prostitutes and wine.

(K) You people of Tyre and Sidon[p] and you Philistines, why are you doing this? Are you trying to get even with me? I'll strike back before you know what's happened. You've taken my prized possessions, including my silver and gold, and carried them off to your temples.[q] You have dragged the people of Judah and Jerusalem from their land and sold them to the Greeks.

But I'll make the people of Judah determined to come home, and what happened to them will happen to you. I'll hand over your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans,[r] who live far away. I, the Lord, have spoken!

Judgment in Judgment Valley

Say to the nations:

“Get ready for war!
Be eager to fight.
Line up for battle
and prepare to attack.
10 (L) Make swords out of plows
and spears out of garden tools.
Strengthen every weakling.”

11 Hurry, all you nations!
Come quickly.
Ask the Lord to bring
his warriors along.[s]
12 You must come now
to Judgment Valley,[t]
where the Lord will judge
the surrounding nations.

13 (M) They are a field of ripe crops.
Bring in the harvest!
They are grapes piled high.
Start trampling them now![u]
If our enemy's sins were wine,
every jar would overflow.
14 Crowds fill Decision Valley.
The judgment day of the Lord
will soon be here—
15 no light from the sun or moon,
and stars no longer shine.
16 (N) From the heart of Jerusalem
the Lord roars like a lion,
shaking the earth and sky.
But the Lord is a fortress,
a place of safety
for his people Israel.

God Will Bless His People

17 I am the Lord your God.
And you will know I live on Zion,
my sacred hill,
because Jerusalem will be sacred,
untouched by foreign troops.
18 On that day, fruitful vineyards
will cover the mountains.
And your cattle and goats
that graze on the hills
will produce a lot of milk.
Streams in Judah
will never run dry;
a stream from my house
will flow in Acacia Valley.[v]

19 Egypt and Edom were cruel
and brutal to Judah,
without a reason.
Now their countries will become
a barren desert,
20 but Judah and Jerusalem
will always have people.
21 I, the Lord, live on Mount Zion.
I will punish the guilty
and defend the innocent.[w]


  1. 1.4 Swarm … locusts: The Hebrew text lists either four kinds of locusts or locusts in four stages of their development. Locusts are a type of grasshopper that comes in swarms and causes great damage to plant life.
  2. 1.6 A powerful nation: The swarms of locusts.
  3. 1.12 pomegranates: A bright red fruit that looks like an apple.
  4. 1.13 sackcloth: A rough, dark-colored cloth made from goat or camel hair and used to make grain sacks. It was worn in times of trouble or sorrow.
  5. 1.14 go without eating: As a way of showing sorrow for their sins.
  6. 1.17 Seeds … ground: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  7. 1.18 sheep are suffering: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. 2.6 The very … frightening: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  9. 2.7 and never turn aside: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. 2.16 fit to worship me: This required going through certain kinds of ceremonies.
  11. 2.17 inside … altar: The Hebrew text has “between the porch and the altar,” which is the place where the priests usually prayed for the people.
  12. 2.23 Zion: Jerusalem.
  13. 2.23 in … seasons: Or “as he used to do.”
  14. 2.25 swarms … locusts: See the note at 1.4.
  15. 3.2 Judgment Valley: The Hebrew text has “Jehoshaphat Valley,” which means “Valley of the Lord's Judgment.” This valley is mentioned here and in verse 12, but nowhere else in the Bible.
  16. 3.4 Tyre and Sidon: Two Phoenician coastal cities.
  17. 3.5 temples: Or “palaces.”
  18. 3.8 Sabeans: The people of Seba, a region in southwest Arabia.
  19. 3.11 Ask … along: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  20. 3.12 Judgment Valley: See the note at 3.2.
  21. 3.13 grapes … now: People trampled grapes with their bare feet to squeeze out the juice.
  22. 3.18 Acacia Valley: In the plains of Moab, northeast of the Dead Sea.
  23. 3.21 I will … innocent: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society For more information about CEV, visit and

Revelation 1

This is what God showed to Jesus Christ, so that he could tell his servants what must happen soon. Christ then sent his angel with the message to his servant John. And John told everything he had seen about God's message and about what Jesus Christ had said and done.

God will bless everyone who reads this prophecy to others,[a] and he will bless everyone who hears and obeys it. The time is almost here.

(A) From John to the seven churches in Asia.[b]

I pray that you
will be blessed
with kindness and peace
from God, who is and was
and is coming.
May you receive
kindness and peace
from the seven spirits
before the throne of God.
(B) May kindness and peace
be yours
from Jesus Christ,
the faithful witness.

Jesus was the first
to conquer death,
and he is the ruler
of all earthly kings.
Christ loves us,
and by his blood
he set us free
from our sins.
(C) He lets us rule as kings
and serve God his Father
as priests.
To him be glory and power
forever and ever! Amen.
(D) Look! He is coming
with the clouds.
Everyone will see him,
even the ones who stuck
a sword through him.
All people on earth
will weep because of him.
Yes, it will happen! Amen.

(E) The Lord God says, “I am Alpha and Omega,[c] the one who is and was and is coming. I am God All-Powerful!”

A Vision of the Risen Lord

I am John, a follower together with all of you. We suffer because Jesus is our king, but he gives us the strength to endure. I was sent to Patmos Island,[d] because I had preached God's message and had told about Jesus. 10 On the Lord's day the Spirit took control of me, and behind me I heard a loud voice that sounded like a trumpet. 11 The voice said, “Write in a book what you see. Then send it to the seven churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”[e]

12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13 (F) There with the lampstands was someone who seemed to be the Son of Man.[f] He was wearing a robe that reached down to his feet, and a gold cloth was wrapped around his chest. 14 (G)(H) His head and his hair were white as wool or snow, and his eyes looked like flames of fire. 15 (I) His feet were glowing like bronze being heated in a furnace, and his voice sounded like the roar of a waterfall. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp double-edged sword was coming from his mouth. His face was shining as bright as the sun at noon.

17 (J) When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead person. But he put his right hand on me and said:

Don't be afraid! I am the first, the last, 18 and the living one. I died, but now I am alive forever, and I have the keys to death and the world of the dead.[g] 19 Write what you have seen and what is and what will happen after these things. 20 I will explain the mystery of the seven stars you saw at my right side and the seven gold lampstands. The seven stars are the angels[h] of the seven churches, and the lampstands are the seven churches.


  1. 1.3 who reads this prophecy to others: A public reading, in a worship service.
  2. 1.4 Asia: The section 1.4—3.22 is in the form of a letter. Asia was in the eastern part of the Roman Empire and is present day Turkey.
  3. 1.8 Alpha and Omega: The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, which sometimes mean “first” and “last.”
  4. 1.9 Patmos Island: A small island where prisoners were sometimes kept by the Romans.
  5. 1.11 Ephesus … Laodicea: Ephesus was in the center with the six other cities forming a half-circle around it.
  6. 1.13 Son of Man: That is, Jesus.
  7. 1.18 keys to death and the world of the dead: That is, power over death and the world of the dead.
  8. 1.20 angels: Perhaps guardian angels that represent the churches, or they may be church leaders or messengers sent to the churches.
Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society For more information about CEV, visit and

Psalm 128

(A song for worship.)

The Lord Rewards His Faithful People

The Lord will bless you
if you respect him
and obey his laws.
Your fields will produce,
and you will be happy—
all will go well.
Your wife will be as fruitful
as a grapevine,
and just as an olive tree
is rich with olives,
your home will be rich
with healthy children.
This is how the Lord will bless
everyone who respects him.

I pray that the Lord
will bless you from Zion
and let Jerusalem prosper
as long as you live.
May you live long enough
to see your grandchildren.
Let's pray for peace in Israel!

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

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Proverbs 29:18

18 Without guidance from God
law and order disappear,
but God blesses everyone
who obeys his Law.

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

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