After finally escaping generations of slavery and abuse at the hands of the Egyptians, the Jewish people find themselves in a very precarious position. After only a few days travel into the desert, they are trapped between the Sea of Reeds and the approaching army of Egypt.
Fearing for their lives, the people cried out to Hashem for his salvation. They entreated Moshe to pray on their behalf, asking that the miracles of the Exodus until this point not be for naught.
Hashem responds to Moshe’s prayers in a very uncharacteristic tone;
“מה תצעק אלי דבר אל בני ישראל ויסעו”
(Why do you cry out to me? Speak to the B’nei Yisroel and let them
journey [forth into the sea]).
Rabbi Chaim of Volozin explains the intent of Hashem’s response. Understand that your rescue will not be my autonomous act. I am certainly prepared to help you. In fact, I have saved my most powerful miracle yet for just this occasion. But I will not be the one to act first. You must be the catalyst that will bring about this miracle. It is up to the people themselves to declare their true faith in Hashem. Let them journey forth into the sea and then their trust and faith in Hashem will merit them this miracle.
Hashem is always prepared to offer us the guidance and assistance that we need. He is ready to respond, but he is waiting for us to initiate the conversation.
Rabbi Don Pacht