Exodus and bushfires

From burning bush to the mountain burning with fire, Exodus is filled with bushfires. While these bushfires in Australia are God’s judgment for homosexuality and abortion laws, many scenes from news and the media closely resemble scenes from Exodus. In this post, we will have a glimpse of what the ancient Israelites may have experienced during their Exodus journey. In Australia, wildfires are called bushfires.

Burning bush

And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”

Exod 3:2-3

The first bushfire event in Scriptures is God revealing Himself to Moses for the redemption of His people.

A tree burns from the inside out hours after the fire front had passed in Bundanoon, NSW1

Looking into this tree reminds of the burning bush which Moses saw where the bush is not consumed. Here the tree burns inside out but the leaves and the branches were not consumed.

Darkness for 3 days

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.” So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

Exod 10:21-23

When Moses went to Egypt, the ninth plague was darkness. There was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days but light in the dwelling of the children of Israel.

Eden hasn’t seen sunlight for 14 hours 2

The smoke is so thick the town in NSW hadn’t seen sunlight for 14 hours. I can imagine how Egypt would have been in total darkness during the ninth plague.

Pillar of smoke and fire for 1 night

And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.

Exod 14:19-20

Many Exodus verses simply mention ‘pillar of cloud’. In English when we read them, and understand as a cloud and not as smoke.

then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering.

Isa 4:5

For ancient Israelites, as in the above verse in Isaiah, “cloud” does not mean a cloud that gives rain but a cloud of smoke. Before the sea split and the Israelites crossed it, the pillar of cloud of smoke which went before them came and stood after them.

Australia’s Bushfires 3

The pillar of cloud would have looked like the above picture during the NSW bushfires.

Mountain in fire and smoke

Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.

Exod 19:18
Bushfires have been blazing near Broke in the Hunter region 4

Mount Sinai completely in smoke could have looked like the bushfires blazing near Broke in the Hunter region.

The glory of the LORD

The sight of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Exod 24:17-18
Fire burning on Mount McKenzies Road on the southern outskirts of Tenterfield 5

I can only imagine how the glory of the LORD would have looked like when Scriptures say it was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain.


1 Freya Noble. (2020) Australian bushfires: The next dangerous weather conditions for firefighters. Retrieved January 08, 2020, from https://www.9news.com.au/national/australian-bushfires-weather-forecast-set-to-heat-up-this-week/410904a5-29f8-4673-a28d-c3bc9d719800

2 Enormous Bushfires. (2020) Australian bushfire: NSW town of Eden hasn’t seen sunlight for ’14 hours’. Retrieved January 08, 2020, from https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/news/apocalyptic-scenes-in-nsw-town-of-eden-which-hasnt-seen-sunlight-for-14-hours/news-story/3cd3570b01dcbe8751ad024a7fa11ea1

3 Reuters. (2020) ‘They Told People Not to Come’: Australia’s Bushfires Ravage Tourism Industry – The New York Times. Retrieved January 08, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/01/03/world/asia/03reuters-australia-bushfires-tourism.html

4 Ben Millington. (2020) NSW Hunter Valley winemakers worry backburning might have ruined crops – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved January 08, 2020, from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-30/hunter-wines-at-risk-from-backburn-smoke/11832058

5 Paige Cockburn. (2020) Six homes lost in northern NSW as bushfires continue to rage – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved January 08, 2020, from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-07/new-south-wales-bushfires-destroy-buildings-in-tenterfield/11488116