Put another way, why does he require a violitional act of choosing God, rather than simply unilaterially saving humans from their fate?
One has to argue the premise - God doesn't necessarily need faith, he might just want it.
A truly compassionate and loving God who understands his people, may simply desire what is best for them. If God is the best, then it would be His desire that his people come to him- willingly and without coercion.
As an analogy, a father may understand that his children learn the value of money. That would entail getting the child's attention, showing correct courses of action, and rewarding desired / punishing undesired behavior. But, before any of this training can occur, the child must first believe that the parent knows how best to deal with money. Without that implicit faith, nothing can be taught.
Likewise, God demands faith (1) in order that he might help his children to be better.(2)
Yes, it does sound a little bit like an old Army ad, but its true: God wants you to be all you can be.
In order to accomplish that, however, one must choose (via free will) that God is in fact the best authority you can emulate.