"Sovereign" is one of those words that, as a lifelong church kid (which I'm truly grateful to have been), I "knew" but could not, if asked, actually define—other than, "Sovereign means...well, you know...it means...um, sovereign." (Helpful.) But this particular name of God appears so often on the pages of Scripture, I finally had to buckle down and get a grip on it.
Thankfully, other names of God we've already visited on our journey illuminate and exemplify God's sovereignty:
The Sovereign Lord is also El Shaddai: God Almighty.
The Sovereign Lord is also El Elyon: Lord Most High.
The Sovereign Lord is also Adonai: Lord and Master.
The Sovereign Lord is also Alpha and Omega: the Beginning and the End.
Easton's Bible Dictionary defines God's sovereignty as "his absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure." And Isaiah 46:8-10—a portion of Scripture that, to me, seems to feature God speaking of His own sovereignty—echoes that definition: "Remember this, keep it in mind, take it to heart, you rebels. Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'"
If God's sovereignty were not matched by His mercy, goodness, and compassion, such a definition and declaration would be utterly terrifying (to say nothing of coming across as rather haughty, if it were anyone other than God talking about Himself). But because God is only holy and never haughty and because He always carries out His sovereignty within the context of His tender love for us, we can unreservedly declare with the Psalmist, "I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteousness, yours alone. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—I, whom you have redeemed" (Psalm 71:16,23).