We transition in Leviticus from being told what we ought to do, to what will happen if we don’t do what we ought to do. The punishment that is meted out by God is very detailed in most of the cases of sin. We begin in 17 with the mandate to not eat blood because it is considered the life of any animal and we are not to indulge in the life of any animal.
Let me move forward just a bit to explain why do we find all of these things spelled out so clearly. We have an explanation in Leviticus 20:22 where God says to the people: “Keep all of my decrees and laws and follow them…You must not live according to the customs of the nations that I am going to drive out before you…But I said to you, ‘You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.”
These laws and regulations were completely contrary to what was happening around the Israelites. Their “neighbors” were involved in sexual practices which God prohibited, they were involved in eating blood, they were involved in doing things that simply were not acceptable to God, so he required the Israelites to be set apart from the other nations. This setting apart is a theme that remains consistent throughout the Bible. When the people of God become sucked into the culture and seduced by that which is happening around them, well, then they fall away from the wishes and desires of God.
Chapter 18 contains a series of unlawful sexual relations, all dealing with family dalliances. 19 addresses various laws, many of which are covered by the 10 commandments. 20 gives the punishment for sin for those unlawful sexual relations. Notice a couple of times God speaks strongly against following mediums or spiritists, something that I have found in this day and age some folks are not taking too seriously.
Hebrews gives us a great Scripture describing the once and for all nature of Jesus’ sacrifice and how this forgave our sins for eternity and that we never have to sacrifice animals again because of what God has done for us.