Reading through the Old Testament, sometimes, we cannot help but recoil at how "God's people" (Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Judah, etc.) were not always the best of characters. Abraham lied. Jacob deceived and manipulated. Joseph was a braggard. Judah slept with his daughter-in-law.
As you continue reading through the Old Testament, keep in mind:
(1) Not every story in the Bible is prescriptive, many are simply descriptive. In other words, just because a character in the Bible behaves a certain way, does not mean the Bible is "prescribing" others to mimic that behavior. Often it is simply "describing" the story as it is - warts and all.
(2) NO ONE ever makes it into the family of God based on his or her good actions. EVERYONE has defied God and violated His perfect laws. EVERYONE deserves God's judgment, even Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
(3) EVERYONE who makes it into the family of God, got there by placing faith in the grace of God. You won't see the word "grace" often mentioned in the Old Testament stories, but the God of the New Testament is same God. His grace is in each and every story of the Old Testament even if it is not explicitly mentioned.
An ungracious God does not send a warning and a rescue party to wicked Sodom and Gomorrah prior to His judgment. An ungracious God just annihilates everyone without warning. An ungracious God gives up on Abraham after his skittish lies and his attempt to have a son in a way that clearly violated God's instructions. Yet we read, "Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness" (Genesis 15:6, HCSB). The passage does not read "Abram was righteous so God did such-and-such for him." Abram was not righteous. He needed God to "credit" righteousness into His spiritual account. So do I.
--Matt Gregory (Lead Pastor @ Soul Purpose Community Church)