he theme which Elihu picks up in this chapter is defensible. He makes a clear statement to Job saying that we have no right to question God's wisdom or purposes in how He uses suffering to accomplish His aims. In other words, God is always good and righteous... any evidence we may encounter to the contrary notwithstanding. Essentially, Elihu lists several reasons why men might encounter seemingly senseless suffering. And basically, Elihu didn't think Job's situation was as rare as Job imagined.
Now, as we read this chapter... and the next few, let's at least recognize that Elihu’s voice was comparatively friendly and comforting after Job's 3 earlier counselors' harsh judgments (Job 33:32). He said, "You can talk to me without fear" (Job 33:6-7). "Better days are ahead" (Job 33:23-25). "I want to help you find answers and I want to discover that you are indeed innocent" (Job 33:32-33). And, as one commentator states, the fact that Elihu kept offering (to no avail) to surrender the floor to Job may indicate that Job actually agreed with what Elihu was saying.
Now, if suffering is common (and it is) and if God uses it variously, what are the causes that Elihu discovered here? In his defense of God (Job 33:12), he listed several possibilities. Suffering can be used to keep us humble (Job 33:17). Suffering can be a better option than death (Job 33:18). Suffering can teach us better priorities (Job 33:20). Suffering can prepare us well for times of judgment (Job 33:23). Suffering is useful in teaching us so as to prevent our damnation (Job 33:30).