Skip to main content

Bob Marley Worships "The Lord"

I was listening to the radio this morning when the song “One Love” from Bob Marley came on. It is a wonderful song with a great message of love. However there is a line in the song that got me to thinking…the line goes something like this: “give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel alright...”

Now it’s rare that you hear a major mainstream artist like Marley incorporating praise to the Lord in their lyrics. In fact, I am certain if any established artist of today were to dare to incorporate praise “to the Lord” in their songs a) it would not be heard liberally in the media and b) that artist would probably be vilified for offending others. But alas, Bob Marley lived in a time where “the Lord” when uttered in the mainstream of public consciousness was not considered akin to a curse word. Good for him; in a way thankfully for Marley, he died before the foolishness of today's media culture truly began.

The song also got me to thinking about the phrase “the Lord”. It is not one that you will likely hear uttered by people who are indifferent to God, and in that way, it draws an important distinction. The word God is freely used by many people whether reverentially, casually or intellectually. That someone uses the term God is not necessarily a distinguishing factor to determine whether that individual is a worshipper or even a believer in the sovereignty of God. When my children were younger, I made this distinction to them repeatedly. Just because someone may talk about “God” or use the name in a song, book or movie, does not automatically suggest that they are Christian or even believes in the true nature of God. The phrase “the Lord” however indicates a far more submissive disposition in relation to the one to whom it is conferred. The person who has no hesitancy in using the term “the Lord” in their conversations or in Bob Marley’s case in a song is clearly suggesting that this “Lord” is master over them. They are overtly declaring their unabashed subservience to Him (the Lord). It is this position of subservience and humility which indicates not only a belief in that Lord but likely worship of Him as well. In our culture, the term God is most often used as a noun (the name of our creator), whereas the term “Lord” is really more of an adjective – that which describes the position of God to the person using the term. As such, “the Lord” is a term that you will likely not hear freely used by many people in our society. By this point if you may be saying “so what”? What’s the difference which term is used? I write this because so many people seem to casually ascribe biblical kinship with others who they think shares their Christian values because they may use the term God in conversation. Teenagers and young people often make this mistake when choosing others to call their close friends. A more accurate indicator of a person’s spiritual allegiance to God is whether that person is comfortable using the term “the Lord”. Is God their Lord or is He just the abstract God. The far off entity who may have made everything but who is not Lord over them personally. In this song “One Love”, Bob Marley seems to be saying that the Creator was his Lord also.

However the Bible also states clearly that implying or even believing that God is your Lord is not enough to be accepted by Him. God clearly stated in scripture that though He indeed is our God, He will only accept us on the basis of our making His Son Jesus Christ our Lord: The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God. (Acts 16: 19-34 NLT)

Bob Marley (who died at age 36 in 1981) was not saved unto everlasting life because He believed that only God was His Lord. Ultimately, Bob Marley is saved today because he believed that Jesus Christ is his Lord.


Mel said…
I did not learn that about Bob Marley...I know we need to make the message clear that unlike what many are taught the way is indeed narrow.
LisaShaw said…
Taryn, Marsha and I were just talking about this topic tonight!!! Especially people knowing Jesus not just as the Son of God or Savior but as THE LORD, THEIR LORD -- a personal relationship.

Many know Scripture, go to church and do all the "check off list" things but do not have a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That deeply saddens my heart when I think of even those whom I know that truly do not have that personal relationship with HIM.

I'm familiar with One Love from long long ago. It was good listening to it again. I was not familiar with the other one.

Bless you and thanks for a good message.
Peter Shaw said…
Mel...most people probably do not know the story about Bob Marley's Christian conversion. I encourage them to read the weblink towards the end of the post to get the story. As you will see, it is not something that most connected to Marley want publicized.

Popular posts from this blog

Funerals for the Unsaved or Unbelievers

I am not a leader of a church, but I oftentimes wonder how does one lead a funeral service for someone who dies without knowing Jesus Christ as Lord? Admittedly I have not been to many funerals in my lifetime, though they are appearing to come more frequently lately, but the fact is that funerals are held daily throughout the world and as such this is a pertinent question to someone just about every day.

I’ve been to the funeral where the person lived a fairly routine life, taking care of their families and other responsibilities as best they could, paying taxes and doing the average things that we as human beings do on a consistent basis. They however had no visible relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ. When this person dies, the surviving family members are oftentimes left scrambling trying to find a person and a place to officiate the funeral services – generally because the deceased did not have a regular church that they attended. Funeral homes sometimes serve this f…

Scripture: Are You a Wheat or Weed?

(Matthew 23: 24-30 NIV): Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ‘‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

(Matthew 23: 36-43 NIV): Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The…

Hal Lindsay off TBN

Christian author and broadcaster Hal Lindsay removed his weekly Christian television news broadcast "The International Intelligence Briefing" from the programming lineup on The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) after network officials notified him that his shows would now be subject to pre-screening for censorship prior to broadcast approval. This unusual step was the result of TBN’s disapproval of a Lindsay broadcast in December 2005, which the network said was too inflammatory towards Muslims.

I have reviewed the transcript of Mr. Lindsay's broadcast and I find nothing in it’s content that is not backed up by God’s scripture, nor did I find anything that would be considered overly zealous or purposefully sensational with respect to potential attacks on Muslims. To the extent that TBN, one of the most widely available Christian TV networks would take this position is quite incredulous. One of the reasons for the need for ‘Christian’ TV networks is to enable the presenta…