What did God want when He designed human beings? He made us capable of great good--but also great evil. He gave us the responsibility of choosing . We have to learn that we cannot live up to our potential for good without help--but it is available for the asking. We also have to learn that there are evil forces that will offer what we think we want, but not what is good for us.
One thing we can learn from studying what God did with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is that it came from God's side. It was not Abram's trying to imagine a "higher power" we see, but a very specific "Go.." But God didn't want a puppet; He wanted intelligent obedience and faithfulness. In the story of Sodom, we see Abram interacting with God, and we learn something about both God and Abram.
Sarai misunderstood God as well; she thought that God wanted a son of Abram to build a legacy, but God didn't want a random child; he specifically wanted Sarai's son by Abram; just as He wanted Rebekah for the mother of Isaac's son, and both Leah and Rachel for the mothers of Jacob's sons.
In Isaac's sons, we see a contrast between a man that God couldn't use, and one that He could. It took God awhile to get Jacob to the bank of the Jabbok River, where He made him into "Israel." It would be interesting to know what other conversation may have happened during that night! Jacob got to the point that we see over and over again throughout Scripture: "My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen You." (Job 42:3)
This, I think, is what God wanted when He made us--not only people who would listen to Him (which is important), but also people who will interact, who will wrestle with Him, who will hang tightly to Him, who truly want to see Him.