Standing near the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, due east of St. Louis, the ancient pile of dirt known as Monks Mound rises nearly 10 stories above the surrounding flood plains. A thousand years ago, it was the focal point of the largest city in North America. Occupied by the primitive ancestors of the Siouan tribes, the city may have had a population of 40,000 people. The mound is one of hundreds constructed, and the tallest of all.
Though parts of it have collapsed, it is shaped much like the pyramids of the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans in Central and South America. Concrete has replaced wooden steps. Signs and markers explain the best theories of the site’s history and primative use as a religious center (a pre-Columbian temple once stood on Monks Mound).
This visit to the Cahokia Mounds site had me remembering something ancient in my own life, the story from Genesis 11 of the Tower of Babel. Likely, you remember it, too. Generations after the flood of Noah, man had mostly forgotten God, had become proud and haughty, and had begun reaching for the heavens. They built a massive city, and, in it, a tower that would be the envy of the entire world.
Yet, to God, their accomplishment was nothing. So insignificant was their construct that He had to “come down” from heaven to see their tower. God is no respecter of persons. Our works are but filthy rags to Him. All have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God.
By their actions they proved that they had exchanged the truth of God a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator. As a result of their sin, God confused their language, and scattered man across the earth.
The act of building the tower was not in itself a sin. The sin was their pride, their worship of self, and the act of setting up system of government without God as its center.
I am reminded that God is to be the center of everything that we do. He is to be Lord and Master of every aspect of our life. Our life is to be lived for His glory, not ours. We are to worship the Creator, not His creation.