Job 23:8-10 (NIV)
8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
Job, in the midst of trial and pain, speaks bluntly and with confidence.
East, west, north, south, he cannot perceive what God has been doing or what he is in the process of doing. Those directions can be translated slightly differently.
East, ‘קדם’, in front.
West, ‘ואחור’, ‘and behind’,
North, ‘שמאול’, ‘left’,
South, ‘ימין’, ‘right’.
The original translation is not wrong in saying the 4 cardinal directions. In the Ancient Near East maps are typically oriented towards the east, to the rising sun. If one faces east, the south is on their right, and the north on their left hence the words came to have a dual meaning.
With either translation, Job cannot perceive what God is doing at this moment in his life. Also, he says he cannot see what God has done behind him. It is often at these moments that we also forget what God has been doing in our lives before, and how he has led us up to these moments.
Yet, despite feeling the despair of being lost from God’s plan, Job hold’s on to what he knows. God knows the way that I take. And. I shall come forth as gold. God is doing something. And if we continue trusting God and doing what he commands, it will be for good.