It has been a while since I made Bible study comments here, ironically enough, because I got caught up in too many Bible studies. Looking back, I found that I was enjoying this one the most (and learning the most), so I'm back pursuing it where I left off. I admit, I kind of got stuck on chapter 12. I have always been troubled by the account of Abram and Sarai going into Egypt and telling a half-truth to Pharoah. I had all kind of moral conundrums with this encounter. If Abraham was such a good guy, why did he lie? Why didn't Sarai stand up to him? Should she have, or was that part of the whole "submission to your husband" bit?
Finally, after a lot of thought, the Lord was good enough to show me some things about Abram and Sarai; and I suppose, something about people mentioned in the Bible in general. God includes the stories of people for a couple of reasons. First of all, the stories of people help us understand how He has worked His will for humanity throughout time and history. Second, God does not intend for us to think these Bible "heroes" were perfect. He desires that we learn from their victories and errors, and how God worked and glorified Himself through their lives.
Realizing this, I am starting over with the story of Abram and Sarai. Abram was a good guy--a moral person. He was a good son, and husband, and citizen; however, it is not mentioned until Genesis 15:6 that "he believed in the Lord, and He counted it to him for righteousness." Abram was not even a saved individual until nearly 15 years after he obediently followed God away from home and kindred. Even then, he wrestles with the old nature--fear, doubt, and disobedience. Yet, despite these struggles--whether Abram did right or succumbed to poor choices--God still kept His promises.