Well, I hit a pretty big milestone in my life a few months ago: I turned 30 years old. And with that new age, my lovely wife has jokingly let me know how old I’m getting (she’s still in her 20’s…for now).
It has been an interesting experience for me transitioning from a “20-something” to a 30-year-old. I do feel like I am older, and a bit more mature and knowledgeable. I’m no longer a boy–I’m a man. I look like a man, talk like a man, and no longer feel as youthful as I did in my teen years.
I can look back at my 20’s now as a completed time in my life (looking at my mistakes and triumphs), and push forward with my future hopes and aspirations. Nevertheless, I know I still have a lot of growing and learning to do as a Christian. Much more than I’d like, but God is merciful.
What is neat to me though, is that apparently God really places a great significance on the age of thirty years old. What is it about turning 30 that God cares about so much? Or an even better question: What is the significance of the number 30 in the Bible?
Those are all great questions, and as I’ve been studying the Bible, it is amazing how many times (and how significant) this age seems to be in people’s lives.
Number 30 Occurrences and Significance In the Bible
The number 30 is used as a sign of physical and mental maturity. It is an age when you are ripe for leadership. Nearly every time its number is mentioned, it is in reference with some significant event or responsibility. It’s an age when you are no longer a boy, or young man. You’re a man (or woman). Here are some examples:
- Joseph was 30 years old when he became 2nd in command to Pharaoh, after being in prison as a slave in Egypt: “And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:46)
- The priests officially entered service at age 30: “From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.” (Numbers 4:3)
- When Moses died, the Israelites mourned him for 30 days: “And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.” (Deuteronomy 34:8)
- Saul became King when he was 30 years old, before he was a “nobody”: “Saul was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty two years over Israel.” (1 Samuel 13:1)
- David became King when he was 30 years old, he was a mere Shepard before his anointing: “David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.” (2 Samuel 5:4)
- Ezekiel was called by God as a prophet at age 30: “Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.” (Ezekiel 1:1)
- John the Baptist was age 30 when he came out from the wilderness to pave the way for the Messiah (Jesus). We know John was roughly 30 because the Bible says he was born 6 months before Jesus, and Jesus started his ministry at age 30.
- Jesus officially started his ministry at age 30. Before this time, he worked as a carpenter and “grew in stature, wisdom, and favor with God and man.” “Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph (Luke 3:23)”
- Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver: “Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.” (Matthew 26:14)
From the scriptures above, it is quite clear that God places a great amount of emphasis on the age (or number) 30. I find it fascinating that our Lord Jesus waited all the way to age 30 to begin His official ministry, being obedient to the law of priesthood (and He is indeed our high priest forever and ever).
I think this is a principle people should still follow today. In hindsight, I would not have started writing articles or blogging about God until at least age 30, so I could have spent more time learning and growing as a Christian first. I wasn’t ready at all then (but very passionate for God), and I made many mistakes in my writing here (especially denying the deity of Christ for a time–the trinity is Biblical!). Not that I’m perfect now, but I’m in a much better place than I was a few years ago.
That’s not to say you should do NOTHING until 30. There are many great ways to help out the Kingdom of God. However, I feel people should refrain from teaching or preaching in a widespread way (or starting a ministry) until age 30 (none of us are better than Jesus or John the Baptist, and both of them waited until then).
Anyway, what’s even more fascinating about this number is that many people above experienced a complete change in their lives at this special age. Joseph was in a prison cell, as an imprisoned slave in Egypt one day, and he was second in command to Pharaoh in one of the most powerful areas on Earth the next day. Can you imagine the despair Joseph must have felt some days? He had a very rough life up until age 30, but wow–God changed it around instantly.
King Saul was a virtual “nobody” before Samuel selected him as Israel’s first King. David also was in a time in his life where he was uncertain if he would ever be king, or even live! In fact, King Saul was trying his best to kill David regularly.
These men were probably downtrodden. They may have given up hope of ever having a normal life. Yet God used his sovereign power to completely change their circumstances.
The key to these verses, however, is that these men (aside from Judas) were in the will of God at this age, and God used them mightily.
Again, John the Baptist was a guy who ate locusts and wore an odd outfit–yet in his very short ministry (beginning at age 30) Jesus said this about John the Baptist: “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.” (Matthew 11:11)
And Jesus Himself went from lowly carpenter from a lowly town to a Messiah and King of Kings–who would change the world He created, pay the penalty for our sins on a cross, rise from the dead, and sit at the right hand of the Father until all is complete– all within about 3 short years.
It just goes to show you that one day life can be so bleak, boring, and you feel like you are getting nowhere fast, and then BOOM–God can mix things up and bless you with incredible power, authority, or anointing. Incredible!
I often wonder if anything significant will happen during my 30th year. Will God place something incredible in my life? Will I be changed in some way? Will I gain some leadership role, or enter a new career direction? Will anything at all happen? Only time will tell. I still have many months of being 30 left.
Either way, it is certainly interesting that God places such emphasis on this age, as it seems to be the age He considers us worthy for leadership and responsibility. You won’t be perfect at this age, or any age. But apparently, you’ll be READY! Ready for whatever God has in store for your life.
God bless you!