Connections 08.06.2023: Making the Pitch

Isaiah 55:1-11

There’s an old advertising maxim that if you want to sell something, first you show the people that they have a need, then show them how your product or service can meet that need. If I didn’t know this was a passage from the Bible, the first lines of Isaiah 55:1 would sound a lot like an advertising pitch: “Hey you out there! Are you thirsty? I’ve got a drink here, priced to sell! Hungry? Have I got a meal deal for you!”

In our not-too-distant past, when commercials were relegated to snippets of time between the scenes of TV shows, it was usually easy to tell who was trying to sell us something and exactly what they were selling. Today it’s not always so simple. Everything that comes across our many screens may be a sales pitch; whether we recognize it or not, someone, somewhere is cashing in on us. They may be selling a product, a service, a political platform, or a system of values. They may even be selling religion. But the internet runs on algorithms that can make it nearly impossible to know who is behind the advertising we see. For that matter, the algorithms and influencers that characterize our online experience can make it nearly impossible to know if what we are seeing is information, entertainment, or advertising. How can we be wise in our consumption and our commitments when we’re never sure what we are really buying, or who is really selling?

Isaiah 55:1 may sound like a marketing pitch, but then the prophet goes on to break the rules of advertising and economics. There is no algorithm obscuring the true identity of the One who calls, who offers, who nourishes. The prophet Isaiah is no advertising genius, SEO whiz, or pop-culture influencer, but the mouthpiece of the living God. There is no profit in the prophet’s influence, and there is no percentage to be gained off those who respond. This spokesperson does not announce a great bargain that turns out to be a bait-and-switch; he offers an open invitation, a summons, a calling to a whole new kind of nourishment that cannot be bought at any price. His audience—the community of exiled Israelites—is in need, and the thing that will meet their need is both priceless and totally free.


  • Who is Isaiah’s audience Isaiah? What do they need? Do they know they need it?
  • What does the prophet offer to meet their need? Where does this offer really come from?
  • What do the people need to do to accept this offer?
  • How will this offer change their lives? How will it change their relationship with other nations?
  • How does Isaiah’s invitation still offer to meet needs that people have today? How might our own lives—and our relationships—change if we understood the true value, fulfillment, and delight of what God offers our world?
  • How might answering Isaiah’s call help us to recognize God’s thoughts and God’s ways?

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair is the lead editor of Connections. She is a graduate of Samford University and Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and as a military spouse has had nine (at last count) different hometowns in the past 20 years. She and her husband Scott and sons Sam and Levi live in the Washington D.C. area. In recent years, Nikki has written Smyth & Helwys curricula as well as devotionals for and Baptist Women in Ministry. She weaves clergy stoles, knits almost anything, and dreams of making her dreadful novel drafts into readable books. She blogs about faith and making things at


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